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Why Being Thankful Is Good For Your Mental Health

November 28, 2019

thankful-mental-healthWe often look forward to great food, football and family time as Thanksgiving approaches. It’s also the time of year when we start to ask ourselves what we are grateful for. This year, instead of answering that question with a run-of-the-mill answer, really dig deep and think about what makes you feel thankful.

Is it your loving family? A job you love? Your good health?

The expression of thanks and gratitude can, in itself, be something you are thankful for. Why? Because these emotions are good for your mental health. And when your mental health is sharp, your physical health will benefit too.

4 Ways To Express Feelings of Gratitude

Recognize Important People in Your Life

When you are thankful for the individual relationships in your life, the presence of these people become comforting. Being able to talk to a loved one, gain support from a friend, or simply understand that a person is there for you even if it is not always communicated, can be reason enough to be thankful. When you recognize the positive impact certain relationships have on your life, they will improve, and so will your mental health.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Writing down feelings of gratitude can become a daily activity that feels good for your mind, body and soul. At the end of each day, take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Even if nothing extraordinary took place, it is beneficial to remind yourself that each day is a blessing. When we take positive thoughts from our minds and put it on to paper, we make thankful feelings come alive.

Write Thank You Notes

Did a loved one treat you to lunch? Did a complete stranger go out of their way with a gesture of kindness when you were having a bad day? Thank them!

Even if you don’t know where to send that person a thank you note, write it anyway. Express how much their helping hand made a difference in your life, and think about how you can pay it forward to change someone else’s life.

When a loved one helps us, even in the smallest of ways, take the time to mail them a handwritten note. Just imagine the look on their face when they receive it, and that will put a smile on your face, too.

Meditate

Taking the time to sit in silence and be with your thoughts can uncover all of the things in your life you are thankful for. Recognizing these positive thoughts will help slow your breathing and block out anxious and negative thoughts. When our breathing slows, we feel calmer, which aids our heart health in several ways.

Harvard Medical School shares, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” How will you get started on your journey of gratitude?

While the holidays are meant to be joyous, this time of year can also be stressful. Remember that excessive stress can affect your heart health, so steer your mentality back on the track of gratitude and positivity. An easy way to stay positive is to set an ‘Attitude for Gratitude’ reminder for each day. Stop and take a moment out of each day to consider all of the positives that outweigh the negatives.

If you feel like you need someone to talk to, make an appointment with one of our physicians. Your doctor can help you sort through any problems you’re experiencing, big or small, and guide you in the right direction.

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