How Being Grateful Can Improve Your Mental Health

Whew! I can’t think of another time in all my living years that there has been such a desperate plea for help in regards to mental health. And let me tell you, that sucker doesn’t discriminate, either. It is affecting all kinds of people from all walks of life.

I think it’s fair to say we have the shenanigans of 2020 to thank for that. And they just seem to keep on givin’. 

If you or someone you love is suffering in this way, I’m so sorry. It is real… it is hard… and it is 100% OK to get help. I encourage you to seek intervention for yourself or for someone close to you who is hurting in this way. 

Here’s the deal…

When you’re upside down in the barrel of life, it’s hard to find the good in anything. 

Now, I am not a medical expert or an experienced counselor. However, I am a product of real-life… and Google-inspired research. 

Come on, I know you do it, too. I’m pretty sure most of us can say we’ve “graduated with honors from Google (or YouTube) University”. Buuuuuut, the reality is more like we know just enough to be dangerous, right? 

We are fortunate to have so much information available to us at the click of a mouse. Yet, we mustn’t forget we have a brain that is wired with discernment and common sense. 

Yeah, don’t forget to use that sucker as you gorge on information. Believe it or not, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. 

Ok, I digress.

“Gratitude… what the heck does being grateful have to do with mental health, Kacie?” (Thanks for getting me back on topic.)

There is scientific evidence that shows gratefulness can help rewire your brain for happiness when you practice it regularly.

When your brain feels gratitude, it involves parts of your brain that feel reward (the type of reward you feel when stress is removed). I am allllllll about that, aren’t you?

Gratitude has the propensity to increase important neurochemicals in your brain. 

When your thought patterns shift from negative to positive, there is a surge of happy chemicals – serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. These are the chemicals that contribute to the feelings of happiness, closeness, confidence, contentment, connection, etc. 

But sister, consistency is the key here because gratitude builds on itself

Your brain is altered by experience. So, the more you practice gratitude, the more your brain learns to tune in to the positive things in this crazy world. 

When you regularly practice gratitude by taking the time to recognize the things you are thankful for, you will find that you experience more positive emotions, improved energy levels, better sleep, express more compassion and kindness to others, and even have a stronger immune system. 

For some, practicing gratitude comes easy. But for others, not so much. I would encourage you to start small. 

5 Simple Ways to Practice Intentional Gratitude

  • Write down 3 things every day you are grateful for from the day before. Do this for 21 days.

  • Keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily. 

  • Avoid negative media and movies with ruinous content. 

  • When you have a negative thought, flip it with a positive spin. 

  • Post images and quotes around your house that remind you to be grateful. 

If you aren’t already practicing gratitude regularly, start today with one of the suggestions above. 

If you need a positive community of women to connect and engage with, come hang out with us in my Facebook group

There is nothing but real life and raw, positive goodness happening over there. I hope to see you there.

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