You probably have at least one acquaintance or friend who can maintain a positive attitude, regardless of the circumstances. They have no problem staying upbeat and optimistic in the face of life’s setbacks. What’s their secret? Gratitude. Whether you choose to write down your thoughts in a journal or take a moment for a gratitude meditation, giving thanks has transformative powers. Here are five proven benefits of being grateful.
1. Improved Mental Well-Being
For people who struggle with mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression, a practice of gratitude can work to their advantage. One study of people who were undergoing counseling divided 300 participants into three groups. One of the groups wrote a letter of thanks to others each week for three weeks, while the other documented their negative thoughts and feelings. The third group didn’t do any assigned writing at all. Both four and 12 weeks after the initial writing assignment ended, those in the gratitude group reported an improved outlook. This study also showed that gratitude has the power to make lasting changes to brain activity.
2. Stronger Relationships
If you’ve had trouble connecting with people, try acknowledging them with a thank-you note, or thanking them in person. For example, tell a colleague how much you valued their help on a project, or thank your spouse for emptying the dishwasher or helping you make dinner. Tell a friend or family member you appreciate something specific they do.
3. Better Physical Health
An attitude of gratitude can also work wonders for your physical well-being. It can boost your immune system, help reduce your blood pressure and alleviate insomnia. Thankful people also report feeling healthier than others. They are more likely to take good care of themselves by working out regularly, eating nutritious foods and avoiding unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drug use.
4. A Self-Esteem Boost
Think back to a time when you felt good about yourself. During those happy times, you probably had a positive self-image as well. Practicing thankfulness can give you an overall sense of confidence that good things are coming your way in life because you deserve them. Taking time to count your blessings can also elevate your self-esteem by showing you how much you have to be happy about. Rather than dwelling on things you don’t have or comparing yourself to others who are making more money than you do, you can slow down and be thankful for what you have.
5. More Resilience
Gratitude doesn’t always come easily, especially when you’re facing adversity. Recognizing the positivity in your life during times when it’s abundant can train your brain to be aware of the good when it’s in short supply. Patience is integral to this process. Thankfulness can bloom over time once you plant the seeds.
Commit to Your Recovery Process
If you have recently achieved sobriety and are looking for a safe space to focus on your new life, contact us at Segue Recovery Support. We’ve designed our high-accountability sober living environment as a bridge between exiting treatment and returning to independent life. The longer you spend in a structured environment that enables you to fully focus on your health, the more successful your long-term recovery will be.