The year-end can be an excellent time to slow down, pause and reflect on all that we have achieved and accomplished. As a society, we are expected to perform and deliver endlessly. Despite our achievements, some of us constantly have to deal with that inner critic that does not allow us to feel accomplished and peaceful.
Did you know that gratefulness, or the act of being thankful and appreciative, has been shown to positively impact mental health, including reducing anxiety? Anxiety is a common and often debilitating condition that can interfere with daily activities and overall well-being. While there are many different approaches to managing anxiety, cultivating a sense of gratitude may be a productive way to reduce stress and improve overall emotional well-being.
Here are five effective ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis and experience its benefits:
1) Keeping a gratitude journal: One of the most straightforward ways to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down three things you are grateful for and why. These can be big or small things and don't have to be related to your current circumstances. The exercise of writing down what you are grateful for can help shift your focus from negative thoughts and worries to more positive ones.
2) Sharing your gratitude with others: Another way to practice gratitude is to share it with others. This could be as simple as expressing your appreciation to someone in person or writing a thank-you note to someone who has done something kind for you. The exercise of sharing your gratitude with others can not only help you feel more grateful, but it can also help strengthen your relationships and connections with others. Moreover, when you take the time to appreciate someone else, you spread more joy and happiness that almost always finds a way back to you.
3) Practicing mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment by being present in the moment. By focusing on the present, you can become more aware of what you have to be grateful for without giving into a mindset of rumination or complaint. Taking a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath can help you become more mindful and cultivate gratitude.
4) Reflecting on your blessings: The daily practice of counting your blessings has significantly impacted overall feelings of positivity. Take time each day to reflect on your blessings and good things. This could be as simple as thinking about the people who are important to you or your experiences. Reflecting on your blessings can help you appreciate what you have. As a result, it may leave you with a more optimistic outlook where you experience more positive thoughts.
5) Performing acts of kindness: Another way to practice gratitude is by performing acts of kindness for others. This could be as simple as buying someone a coffee, offering to help someone with a task, or volunteering at a local nursing home or community kitchen. Performing acts of kindness not only helps others but can also increase your sense of gratitude and well-being.
Gratefulness can be an effective way to reduce anxiety and improve overall mental health. By incorporating gratitude into your daily routine through activities like keeping a gratitude journal, sharing your gratitude with others, practicing mindfulness, reflecting on your blessings, and performing acts of kindness, you can experience the benefits of gratitude and improve your well-being. Studies claim that the practice of cultivating gratitude allows your brain to notice and appreciate the little things in life, thereby tremendously shifting one's life experiences. It increases your happiness and well-being, life satisfaction, and overall health. Gratitude can be a powerful practice to cultivate, especially if you struggle with anxiety or depression.
If you're looking for help in managing travel anxiety, working with a psychologist might be helpful for you. At Ward & Associates Psychological Services, we offer counselling in Sherwood Park. We specialize in individual counselling for adults, teens, and children and couples counselling and trauma counselling for first responders. We also offer online therapy for clients residing in Alberta. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.