It’s Gratitude Month! What are the Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude?

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Now that the month of November is here, it’s the perfect time to practice gratitude! Gratitude is a game changer, though most of us don’t practice it enough. But – we should! Displaying gratitude can increase happiness, life satisfaction and overall health, while decreasing anxiety, depression and anger.

The easiest way to practice gratitude is by writing down a few things each day that you are thankful for. Throughout the day, also take time to notice the good things around you. Savor them, appreciate them and express your gratitude to others.

If you’re currently struggling with depression, anxiety or another mental health problem, be aware of the health benefits you can get by practicing gratitude.

Gratitude Makes You a Happier Person

Gratitude has a strong connection to happiness. Expressing feelings of appreciation to yourself and others creates positive emotions and feelings of pleasure. Research shows that when you practice gratitude, you’re more likely to share these positive emotions with others, having an impact on those around you!

Think back to a time when you showed appreciation to someone else, even if it was something simple like holding a door open. Taking those few seconds to show your gratitude puts you in a better mood, and makes the other person feel better, too. And with a happier mindset, you can view situations more optimistically.

Gratitude Decreases Stress and Anxiety

If you struggle with mental health problems, you can benefit from gratitude. Research has found that people who practice gratitude have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress. They are also more resilient to emotional setbacks and negative experiences.

When you take the time to notice and appreciate the small things in life, you rewire your brain to think differently. Your brain will deal with the present with more awareness, shifting your attention to the here-and-now and away from the past or future. By reducing stress, you naturally decrease anxiety, depression and other negative emotions.

Gratitude Makes You a Healthier Person

Gratitude even has an effect on your physical health. Studies show that being grateful slows the effects of neurodegeneration and lowers inflammation and blood pressure. This happens because feeling thankful releases oxytocin, which expands blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and protects the heart.

Another thing oxytocin has the power to do is bring us closer to others. This ‘snuggle hormone’ is linked to warm and fuzzy feelings that promote trust, communication, positive memories and empathy. Oxytocin is typically released when people snuggle up or bond socially, but you can release it in other ways, too.

Enhance Your Recovery with Gratitude

Whether you struggle with mental health problems, substance use or both, practicing gratitude is a simple, effective way to promote better wellness. And – it costs absolutely nothing!

Spearhead Health recognizes that there are many tools and resources our clients use to improve their lives, and gratitude is one of them. Make an effort to do more of this during the month of November so that you can support your journey to healing. To inquire about any of our case management services, contact us today at 310-561-1704.