As we approach the end of the year, it’s important to stay grateful despite the stress and uncertainty we have all faced. Being grateful and showing gratitude are more than nice things to do; they help you appreciate your life and what you have without comparing yourself to others. It feels good to be grateful!
Studies have shown that those who practice gratitude are more optimistic about their lives, tend to exercise more, and have better relationships with those around them. In fact, a study conducted at University of California Berkley compared three groups of college students: One group wrote letters of gratitude to another person weekly for three weeks; one group wrote about negative personal experiences; and one group did not write at all. The researchers found that the letter-writing group reported significantly better mental health for weeks after the experiment ended. Regardless of whether they mailed their letters (only 23% did), they experienced better outcomes than those who wrote about their negative experiences or didn’t write at all.
This shows that practicing gratitude can have long lasting mental health benefits, even if you keep it to yourself. And although it can feel hard (especially this year), there are easy ways you can start today.
Staying grateful in difficult times can feel like a heavy lift when you don’t know where to start. But with a little practice, it can become much easier to see the good instead of focusing on the negative or uncertain.
Being grateful is a simple way to keep afloat and can help you #BeTheDifference for yourself and those around you.
Learn how MHFA can help you create a self-care plan that includes gratitude practices and more.