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Recently, I have been thinking about the idea of gratitude. What does it mean? Why is it important? Gratitude can be defined as an appreciation for all that one has. This is not limited to material things. One can be grateful for a partner, a state of being, an opportunity, etc. Gratitude comes in many different forms. The definition of gratitude makes the idea seem simplistic, but I pose that gratitude is much more complex than it seems. It does not simply mean showing appreciation. When you demonstrate gratitude, you are using insight and reflecting on the more positive things that are occurring within your life, despite any negativity or chaos. This indeed is no easy feat, as the timeline of life is filled with its ups and downs.

Now that we know how gratitude is defined, we can talk about why it is important. Gratitude can have many benefits to our mental health. The list that I have written down below is certainly not extensive but is compiled of a few of the most notable benefits:

  1. It can allow us to rethink the way that we interact with our environment and with individuals around us in a positive manner. When things in life seem bleak, sometimes being able to identify at least two things that we are thankful for can make the outlook seem less grim.

  2. Feeling grateful can enhance our overall well-being and increase our feelings of happiness. It is hard to feel grateful and infuriated at once.

  3. Gratitude may lead to reduced stress and anxiety.

  4. Gratitude can improve relationships with friends and significant others. In times of conflict, addressing the things that you are thankful or appreciative of can provide ease to you or your partner.

How do we become more in touch with our gratitude?

One of my favorite things to do when I want to focus on gratitude is to create a gratitude journal. This can be unique to each person and entries can be added on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. I tend to enjoy reflecting on gratitude at least three times throughout the week. For each entry in your gratitude journal, you can reflect upon and write about the things that you are grateful or thankful for over the last week. This allows us to not only think about what we are grateful for but provide these thoughts a permanent place for us to look back on in the future.

Gratitude is not always the easiest thing to experience. However, I hope that this helps you become more in touch with a few things that you might be grateful for or more appreciative of this week.

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