What are you grateful for? While it’s easy to come up with a list of things that haven’t gone well in the past few months, dwelling on these thoughts can harm your health. I want to challenge you to take a moment to write down a few things you are thankful for. It may not be easy at first, but during difficult times, gratitude is more important than ever. Making gratitude a habit and appreciating the small things in life can make a big difference in your physical and mental health.
According to Mary Free Bed clinical psychologist Evan Parks, Psy.D., by feeling and expressing gratitude, you can make positive changes in your brain that allow you to better regulate your emotions during difficult times. Dr. Parks references a clinical study, revealing that people experiencing chronic pain who expressed gratitude reported, “less depression, anxiety, fatigue, inflammation, and insomnia.”
At a time when people are feeling more isolated and stressed, showing gratitude to others can help you make meaningful connections with people around you and lower your stress level. Expressing gratitude is a great way to practice self-care and over time it can have a positive effect on your health.
If you’re stuck in a rut and ready for a change as we begin this new year, take a look around and notice all of the gifts and blessings you have that are so easy to take for granted. Instead of ruminating over what didn’t go right for you, make 2021 the year to appreciate what you do have.
By Alena Walrath, PTA