Mental Health and Gratitude: How Saying “Thank You” Can Improve Your Mental Health
Thankfulness has been linked to more positive mental health outcomes, including improvements in depression, anxiety, and stress in general. How can being grateful have such a big impact? Psychologists say that showing gratitude and focusing on what and what we are grateful for gives us a more positive outlook on life. In one study, three groups of participants were assigned to keep daily journals detailing what they were grateful for, things that irritated or annoyed them, or just events that impacted their day, respectively. The results of the study indicated that the group who wrote about things they were grateful were more optimistic, happier, and reported better well-being overall than the groups who did not.
Though giving thanks may seem like a very daunting task, even small acts of thankfulness or appreciation can have an effect on mental wellness.
- “Thanks” is a great start
A simple “thank you” can not only improve your mood, but the mood of whoever is on the receiving end. The results of a study done by the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania showed that employees who received praise and gratitude from their managers worked harder and felt more valued than those who did not.
- Keep a journal
Like the study above, keeping a gratitude journal may help you remember the positive things in life. Not only can it help you focus, but it can also serve as a reminder to look back on in difficult times.
- Appreciate the small things; don’t sweat the small stuff
Start being grateful for the little things in life, like your morning cup of coffee or the easy commute home. By doing so, you might find yourself noticing more and more things to be grateful for every day instead of the difficult parts.
For more information about mental health and gratitude, visit the following links:
- The Science of Happiness- An Experiment in Gratitude [Video]
- Giving thanks: The benefits of gratitude | Psychology Today
- 5 Ways Gratitude is Good for Your Health | SHAPE