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Why Gratitude is Important & How to Practice It

Acknowledging all the good you already have in your life is the foundation of all abundance, making it important to reflect on every blessing you have, no matter how small or big it is.

Subsequently, This sentiment is supported by science, with various studies indicating that a daily gratitude practice can significantly boost your happiness and enhance your physical health. It can also boost your energy levels, increase your kindness, improve sleep, and boost your immunity so your chances of getting sick diminish. 

While a new year can bring a promise of new hope, it can also bring with it depression and anxiety for some. This makes practicing gratitude especially challenging, and mental health challenges like these can also benefit from professional help. Gratitude experts at denova Collaborative Healthcare are committed to helping you and your family live with gratitude.

How Gratitude is Important to Your Life Quality

Reliable studies have shown that there is a strong connection between gratitude and a person’s overall well-being. A recent study by Dr. Michael E. McCullough (the University of Miami) and Dr. Robert A. Emmons (the University of California) confirmed that people who practice gratitude are more optimistic, feel better about their lives, and have fewer visits to doctors compared with those who don’t.

A similar study by Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, a leading researcher, and psychologist at Pennsylvania University, tested the effect of positive psychological interventions on several individuals and produced similar results. Participants were assigned to draft and personally deliver a gratitude letter to someone who had never been appreciated enough for their kindness. Following this, they recorded a high increase in happiness scores that lasted for a month. 

The results of these and other studies is clear – gratitude is a great tool to help people acknowledge the goodness in their lives, relish good experiences, build strong relationships, experience more positive emotions, and most importantly, improve their health.

Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

Having an attitude of gratitude can positively impact your mental and physical health and improve your happiness and social life, and there are a variety of ways to cultivate it. It’s always important to appreciate what you have rather than trying to reach out for new things in hopes they will make you happier. Here are tips to help you cultivate gratitude.

  • Thank You Notes – An appreciation note is a brilliant way to express your gratitude and someone – a family member, friend, co-worker, et cetera – feel appreciated. Whether you’re showing appreciation after a job interview or sending a generous wedding gift, a well-thought-out thank you note can be an incredible gesture.
  • Mental affirmations – If you have no time for written notes, you can practice mental affirmations. Think about something or someone who has assisted or done something wonderful for you and mentally thank the person.
  • Keep a gratitude journal – Dedicate a few minutes every day to take notes of what you’re grateful for. These could be positive thoughts, something funny a family member did, a gift you received, or a kind gesture from a stranger.
  • Count and note your blessings with cues – Spend some time every week reflecting on moments you appreciate and think about the sensations you felt during these times. Count all your blessings and be grateful for each—you use cues to remain on course.
  • Pray – You can also cultivate gratitude through prayers. Prayer is a great way to reflect and allows you to focus on what you’re grateful for.
  • Practice mindfulness – Practicing mindfulness can help you stay in touch with all you have to be thankful for. It can also help you handle challenging situations with acceptance and grace.
  • Practice Meditation – Meditation allows you to focus on the current situation without bias. You can dedicate time to focus on what you’re grateful for, and you will cultivate gratitude in the process.

Want to learn more about cultivating gratitude? Book a mental health appointment with denova Collaborative Healthcare and learn how to live a healthy life with gratitude.

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Amanda Keenhold, LAC

Licensed Associate Counselor

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