How Gratitude Can Improve your Mental Health

November 6, 2014

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Are you feeling overwhelmed by the daily stressors at work? Do ever feel like your stress is piling up like a tall stack of papers and you are unsure how to lessen the stack of papers? Well don’t you worry because you are not the only one.  According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health  report, 25% of Americans view their job as the number one stressor in their daily lives. Excess stress can have an impact on your mental and emotional health.  So how do you manage your health with all this stress? One method that has been studied in psychology research and has been strongly associated with an individual’s well-being is to express gratitude. “Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives…” according to Harvard Health. Expressing gratitude helps people realize the goodness in their lives and has been shown to increase individuals overall happiness.  Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough executed a research study about performing gratitude in one’s daily life.  They found after 10 weeks the group who wrote about things they were grateful for, felt better about their life and had a more optimistic attitude.

So how do you actually express your gratitude? Well it can be done in many ways! You can write a thank-you note to another individual explaining how much that person has had an impact on your life.  Thank someone mentally and realize how much you appreciate that individual and how important they are to you.  Keep a gratitude journal and count your blessings.  Write down 3-5 things of what you are grateful for in your life every week. Writing it down and seeing it on paper can help you realize how many great things are in your life. This can help with forgetting about the stressors and focusing in on the good.

 If you are feeling too stressed and don’t know what to do, try putting some time aside every week to realize the things you are grateful for.  Simply jotting down a little note expressing what you are grateful for can go a long way and can help improve your overall health. 

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