November marks the start of the holiday season, a time meant to focus on family, friends and all we’re thankful for. The holidays can also be a time of stress. Some may experience feelings of anxiety, sadness and even depression. While it can be hard not to fall into the trap of discontentment, there is a way you can combat negative feelings and reclaim the true spirit of the holidays: practice gratitude.
Gratitude has the power to transform your life and bolster your health mentally, emotionally and physically. In fact, the benefits of gratitude are so significant that you’ll want to make it part of your life all year long, not just for a season. Learn more about the power of gratitude and how it can help you live a happier, healthier life below.
Health Benefits of Gratitude
1. Better Sleep
Research shows you can help yourself get a longer, more restful night’s sleep by taking a few minutes to focus on what you’re thankful for before dozing off.
2. Improved Self-esteem
Gratitude combats negative feelings associated with low self-esteem, such as jealousy, envy and inadequacy. Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can make you feel more positive about yourself, too.
3. Better Physical Health
When you fill your life with gratitude and positivity, you’re more likely to be motivated to take care of yourself by exercising and scheduling regular checkups with your physician.
4. More Mental Strength
Practicing gratitude during periods of stress or difficulty can help you become more mentally resilient. Instead of being consumed by the difficulties, gratitude helps shift your focus to the parts of your life you’re thankful for.
5. Reduced Toxic Emotions
Emotions such as aggression, envy, jealousy and resentment wreak havoc on your health, and can lead you to harm others emotionally, mentally or even physically. Gratitude decreases the longing and discontentment that breeds these toxic emotions, which makes you happier with your own life and gives you more empathy for other people.
3 Ways to Practice Gratitude
1. Send a few thank you notes.
Pick a few people who you’re grateful for and send them a note thanking them for all they’ve done for you. Just the act of putting the words down on paper may help you appreciate who and what you have in your life.
2. Meditate on what you’re thankful for.
Spend a few minutes each week mindfully counting your blessings and dwelling on all you have to be thankful for in your life.
3. Start a gratitude journal.
Keep a notebook where you can jot down things that fill you with gratitude. Whenever you need encouragement, sit down and read each point you’ve written down.
Investing in your mental health has a significant impact on every other aspect of your wellness, and gratitude is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to get a mental boost. Learn more about how Baptist Health can help you bolster your mental health.