November is national gratitude month!
What does gratitude mean to you? A popular response might sound like a feeling of thankfulness for what you have, for the people in your life, and for the expediencies you’ve had so far. These are all wonderful things for which to be grateful. You might also have gratitude for the person that helped you out in a jam or did a really kind act for you that made your day. Gratitude is a feeling that warms the heart and fills the soul.
There are also many positive effects of gratitude. Of course, being grateful helps increase our mood and decrease feelings of frustration. But it also improves our social connection, allows us to have more empathy, and increases our self-esteem. If we are more focused on the things that make us happy or what we are thankful for, we have less room for all the negative thoughts that can fill our minds.
These benefits and this mindset seems nice, but it isn’t always easy to have an attitude of gratitude. Life is hard and struggles seem to be looming around many corners. But reminding ourselves of the things that are going well in life, or that bring us happiness, is always a good practice. Here is an exercise to try to help you add more gratitude into your daily life.
At the end of the day, spend some time reflecting on what happened that day and how you felt. Try thinking of someone you interacted with who helped you feel more fulfilled or happy. Next, think of something positive that happened during the day, no matter how small. Maybe you got the best parking spot at the store, or the weather was the perfect temperature for an evening outdoors. Finally, think of one thing that you have that you are really glad is in your possession.
Doing this gratitude journal exercise every day for a week can help you start to shift your perspective to the people and things you have in your life for which you are thankful. This can lead to a more fulfilled life.
Coming from a background in community mental health, Brigette has experience working with a diverse population and serving diverse needs. She believes everyone has a story to tell and it deserves to be heard. She uses a person centered approach along with CBT to help clients navigate their stressors and accept themselves for who they are. Her areas of interest are OCD and anxiety. If you’d like to learn more about Brigette or inquire about work with her, please click here.