Benefits Of Daily Gratitude For Mental Health
One of the biggest benefits of daily gratitude I have seen is its almost immediate impact on my mood and the long-term boost it has given my mental health.
So let’s talk about practising daily gratitude and the way it can impact mental health.
How I Started With Daily Gratitude
I never thought I’d be the kind of person that would start practising gratitude daily. And then in March 2020, a certain pandemic started to hit. And my mental state kind of started to spiral a little bit.
I was veering towards depression as probably a lot of us were. It was such a huge disruption to our lives and there were so many unknowns.
I can’t remember what the specific prompt for me was, but one day when I kind of felt like I was about to spiral, I just grabbed a pen and paper and said, ” there must be at least something somewhere for me that is going right.”
And I just wrote down things that I felt were still going well in my life or at least things that hadn’t changed that I could take some comfort in.
And it made me feel a lot better, despite all the chaos and uncertainty and fear around when the pandemic started.
I still had a roof over my head.
I was still able to work, and after losing 2 jobs as a result of Covid, still able to find work.
I could still exercise and keep myself physically well, and (relatively) mentally well.
Plus no one I knew or was close to had directly been infected with the virus, or at least not had any major symptomatic infection.
Yes. It caused a huge amount of upheaval in my career.
Yes, it completely derailed my 2020 travel plans.
But there were always going to be other jobs out there. I had time to work on other projects. And I figured the world would open up for travel again one day.
So it did genuinely make me feel a lot better. I can’t say I wasn’t depressed still, but my mood was definitely lifted.
Since then I’ve tried to practice gratitude daily.
And it has had a very positive impact on my mental health.
I try and do it every evening but I do forget regularly. However at least most evenings I’ll write down three things that I’m grateful for. And the collection of things I’ve built up has been pretty impressive.
What Are The Benefits Of Daily Gratitude?
It can reinforce the things that are important. For example, yes, in 2020 I didn’t get to do any of the travel that I wanted to. But at the same time, none of my friends or family got infected with the virus that at that time we knew very, very little about.
Tying in with that.
I also got much less interested in material goods.
I realised that my family lists of things I’m grateful for very rarely featured material things.
Minimalism and decluttering are definitely topics I want to cover in future, but just understand that it really helped me switch from being quite materialistic to just not having anywhere near as much interest in material goods.
It helps with your relationships. You’re constantly reminded why the people that are in your life are in your life. And I already mentioned the mood boost and the positive impact it can have on mental health.
How To Get Started With Daily Gratitude
If you’re ever down, I’d suggest just grabbing a pen and paper and writing down at least one thing you’re grateful for.
I did a complete brain dump to start off. And then I tried to stick to three a day since.
But if you can even start with just one thing, that’s going to be a big deal. It’ll get easier from there and it will make a huge difference.
And sometimes to get you started, you need a few prompts. So here are some suggestions.
- Do you have use of all four limbs? Not everyone does.
- Can you take a full, deep breath that fills your chest and fills your lungs without it hurting? Because again, not everyone can.
- Do you have use of at least one eye, one ear, your sense of taste, sense of smell, sense of touch?
- Do you have something that happened to you or something someone said to you at any point in the last 24 hours that made you smile or made you laugh?
And if nothing else, then let’s look at this one…
The fact that you’re reading this says that you have access to a device, which will allow you to communicate electronically with pretty much anyone anywhere in the world.
Not everyone has that luxury.