If you want to look after your mental health, whether you’re trying to manage a mental health condition or are simply practicing some self-care, then gratitude should be a big focus. By this, we mean actively recognizing the things in your life that you are thankful or grateful for. Let’s look at how to practice this on a regular basis and why it’s so good for your mental wellbeing.
Why practice gratitude?
As the saying goes, sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. We have a tendency to take for granted the great things in our lives. When life gets us down, we focus more on the negative or what we’re missing in life, rather than the positive things. Even simple things like having a roof over your head or a hot meal in the evening, as well as other gifts such as our friends and family.
By focusing on all these positive things, no matter how big or how small, we shift our mindsets, and science says that we can actually provoke changes in our brain. The result is a generally more positive outlook on life, which can lead to a reduction in things like stress, anxiety, and depressed moods. It can change the way that our brains and bodies react to stressors and setbacks, helping us cope better in difficult times.
It can also, in turn, affect your relationships with other people as you’ll come to appreciate them more rather than taking them for granted.
How to practice gratitude
If you want to start practicing gratitude, then there are some simple ways of doing it. A common practice is keeping a gratitude journal. This involves writing down the things you are grateful for each day, helping you shift your focus to those positive things. It may feel a little strange at first, but just sit down at the end of each day and write down at least three things you are thankful for. It could be something that happened during the day, or it could be something ever-present such as the love of your family or the support of your friends.
If you don’t want to keep a journal, then you can simply do this as a mental exercise, listing the things in your head that you’re grateful for.
When it comes to the people in your life, another great practice is to express gratitude to them. Tell a friend, or your partner, or a parent how grateful you are to have them in your life. Or thank someone for doing something specific, like a colleague who supported you on a tough project at work or your child for doing their chores. That person will likely appreciate the recognition and feel good about themselves.
Gratitude is just one form of self-care that supports your mental health. And massage is another way to lift your spirits, so contact Moonstone Massage if you’re interested in booking a professional massage. It could be one of the things you’re grateful for that day.