By: Tara Kong, MS, NCC, LPC- Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton, LPC-S
Writing about gratitude during the month that celebrates Thanksgiving may seem cliché but having and expressing thankfulness is important in everyday life. Showing gratitude has many benefits physically, psychologically, and socially. Physical benefits include a better immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep at night, and less bothered by aches and pains. Benefits psychologically include a higher level of positive emotions, feeling more alert and awake, experiencing more joy and pleasure, and experiencing more happiness in life. Socially people with gratitude are more likely to be kind, compassionate, generous, outgoing, forgiving, and less isolated and lonely.
Gratitude can Increase Positive Emotions
Thankfulness allows people to experience the present fully. Research illustrates that positive emotions tend to wear off quickly. A new house, car, or phone that once brought happiness and excitement will later not feel so exciting anymore. Having gratitude allows us to appreciate the value of something. When we realize something has value, we are less likely to take it for granted. Gratitude will enable people to engage more fully and appreciate life. We get more pleasure from life when we value and appreciate the positives. Instead of becoming normalized to goodness, goodness is celebrated.
Gratitude Blocks Negative Emotions
Gratitude has been shown to block negative emotions such as resentment, bitterness, and regret that can steal one’s happiness. Thankfulness also shows evidence of reducing the frequency and duration in periods of depression. It is hard to feel envious if you are feeling gratitude, or feel resentment when you appreciate all the positive experiences and people that are in your life.
Grateful People are More Stress Resistant
Grateful people show better resiliency when they face a stressful event, suffering, or adversity. Appreciating another viewpoint in light of gratitude helps lessen anxiety and stress.
Grateful People Have Higher Self-Esteem
People who have thankful thoughts can appreciate what others have done for them or how they have been treated. Looking back on the past, one can see how different relationships and people have brought them to where they are today. Realizing that someone has seen value in you makes you change how you see yourself.
Having and expressing gratitude is not always easy. Thankfulness gives credit to other people. Often people are quick to attribute success to themselves and blame others for failures or mistakes. Gratitude protects against self-serving tendencies. Gratitude goes against our need to have control over our lives. Sometimes with gratitude, you accept life as it is and appreciate your blessings. Society often tells us that we deserve good things and produce entitlement. It is hard to show gratitude when one feels one deserves everything.
Some way you can practice experiencing more gratitude in your life is by keeping a gratitude journal. Write down things you are thankful for. Or spend time each day thinking of three things you were grateful happened that day. Be intentional with those around you. Take time to notice traits or qualities you appreciate in your kids, spouse, parents, siblings, and friends. Once you notice, make a point to tell them what you appreciate about them. Showing gratitude is perfect in preparing for the Thanksgiving season, but it’s also essential to practice all year round.
Begin Therapy in Katy, TX!
If you are ready to learn how to experience and express gratitude, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide counseling and mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about changing negative thought patterns.
- Meet with one of our compassionate therapists.
- Uncover ways to understand your thoughts and how they can affect your behavior and attitude.
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!