News • 19 Sep 2022

Five benefits of practicing gratitude to improve your mental health

Five benefits of practicing gratitude to improve your mental health

World Gratitude Day, celebrated on 21 September, is an opportunity to recognise the things to be thankful for – and this can be beneficial for your mental health.

We know that the fundamentals of good health are to eat well, sleep well, and move often but gratitude is emerging as a fourth pillar to positive health and wellbeing. Research has shown that people who regularly practice gratitude experience more happiness and a myriad of health and relational benefits.

Gratitude can be practiced in a variety of ways, from keeping daily gratitude journals, sending someone a thank you note, or prayer and meditation. Here are five benefits of practicing gratitude to improve your mental health:

     
     Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression

Expressing gratitude can help you to feel more optimistic and focused on solutions rather than problems. Gratitude can also remind us of our strengths and ability to navigate previous challenges, which can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

 

     Improve your mood

Your brain releases the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin when you express gratitude. This helps to lift your mood and engage a more positive mindset.

     
     Sleep better

People who have higher levels of gratitude have experienced better sleep quality. This is likely due to their minds defaulting to positive thoughts, instead of ruminating on negative ones. Positive thoughts at bedtime are more likely to help you drift into a blissful state of sleep, quickly. And when you sleep better, you feel better!

     
     Build resilience

Studies have shown that gratitude can support post-traumatic growth and active coping. Active coping is when we find ways to manage stressors and our reaction to those stressors in our daily life. Gratitude does this by shifting our perspective and helping us to approach our problems with hope and optimism.

   
    Enjoy better relationships

Showing our appreciation for others opens the door for genuine and reciprocated respect and affection. It is a simple but powerful way to express that we acknowledge and value those around us. This can help us to sustain happy and healthy relationships, which play a vital role in supporting our overall health and happiness.