By: Carol Briggs
Carol treats issues related to depression, anxiety, stress management, self-care, career satisfaction, self-esteem, substance use, life stage adjustment, as well as grief and loss. She is especially passionate about helping clients through traumatic loss. Carol enjoys working with clients throughout the lifespan from all backgrounds and identities.
Gratitude is a feeling or response after receiving something beneficial from another. Gratitude is also rooted in spirituality and the belief that we are all connected and becomes part of our character when we intentionally practice looking for the good in life. It’s a universal part of being human, expressed in different ways across different people and cultures. And although it appears to be a part of human nature, gratitude is something that we easily forget to practice, particularly when life gets stressful.
“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are steep and hurt and resentful. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart responds in bitterness . . . I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.” – Henri Nouwen
Research has shown that practicing gratitude has multiple benefits to overall well-being. Grateful people:
- Experience higher levels of joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness, and optimism.
- Experience less envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness.
- Can cope better with everyday stress.
- Recover quicker from illness and have overall better physical health.
- Show increased resilience.
Gratitude is a strength a lot of us are not utilizing. We can use it to help us heal from hurt, reframe negative interpretations, and remember that others are here for support. Gratitude acknowledges that all experiences, even trying and heartbreaking ones, serve to teach us something we can be thankful for.
Ways to Practice More Gratitude in Your Life
- Keep a gratitude journal, writing about something each day to be thankful for.
- Write a thank you note to someone you love and appreciate.
- Volunteer for organizations that help others.
- Write a thank you note about all you’ve learned from difficult times.
- Post something positive and inspiring to social media.
- Try to go a whole day without complaining about anything.
- Practice mindfulness, not worrying about the past or future.
- When you’re having a difficult time, focus on the support you have from friends, family, and others.
What are you thankful for today?