What Are You Grateful For?

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


Though it can be difficult to look for the bright side when struggling with a mental illness, practicing gratitude for the small things in life is a strong strategy to improve your mental wellbeing. Gratitude allows you to see the good in the world, and it is one of the strongest resources to foster a positive mindset. Read on to learn more about the impact gratitude can have on the state of your mental health.

How Can Gratitude Affect Your Mental Health?

  • Gratitude can mitigate negativity and encourage a positive mindset.

While gratitude does not guarantee more good days than bad, it can promote a more positive outlook on life. When you focus on the positive it leaves less room for negativity to creep in. Making gratitude a daily practice can help to lessen negative habits such as worry, anger, and self-consciousness while increasing optimism and improving your overall mood.

  • Gratitude can help you to feel motivated.

Lacking motivation does not equal laziness. It’s difficult to feel like your actions matter when negative thoughts hinder healthy changes and self-improvement. Shifting your attention to things that make you happy rather than what upsets you can energize and motivate you to achieve your goals, integrate more positive behaviors into your day-to-day routine, and make a positive impact on the people around us.

  • Gratitude can help you process stress and frustration.

When symptoms of mental illness threaten to overwhelm you, orienting yourself on the positive aspects of life can aid you in navigating intense emotions related to stress and frustration. Gratitude helps to cultivate emotional resilience, which allows you to develop coping strategies and come back from low points stronger and more adaptable than before. Though giving thanks will not eliminate your stressors or symptoms, it is a strong way to process negative emotions in a healthier way.

  • Gratitude can lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.

By making gratitude a priority and daily focus, you shift attention away from negative emotions, such as those which are commonly experienced as a result of depression and anxiety. Being thankful for relationships, opportunities, and everyday moments increases appreciation for the world around us, allowing for better control of negative self-talk and emotions.

How Can You Express Your Gratitude?

  • Keep a daily gratitude journal.

Start your day on a positive note by writing in a gratitude journal each morning. This can include (but is not limited to) lists of things you give thanks for, something that made you happy from the previous day, and/or daily affirmations. A written record of gratitude allows you to reflect on your thoughts and assess your level of emotional wellbeing.

  • Observe and keep track of the things that you’re grateful for each day.

Gratitude can sometimes go unnoticed when you’re going through the motions. Try to take note of when something makes you happy or when you see something good being done for someone else. Keep track of these moments to help remind yourself that even during hard times, there are still things to be grateful for.

  • Take time to tell someone you’re grateful for them and their actions each day.

Try each day to thank someone for their impact on your life. Gratitude can both improve our existing relationships and promote growth in new connections by reminding us of our appreciation and care for each other.

Though having gratitude during difficult challenges is easier said than done, giving thanks for the small moments can have a powerful impact on your mental health. At Serenity, we have found that incorporating gratitude in the treatment process improves the outcome of the treatment long-term. To learn more about Serenity’s gratitude-based approach, check out our testimonials page.

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.