Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
Practicing giving thanks is often done around the Thanksgiving table, however, it is an
important practice that can be cultivated throughout the year. In recent years, research has
found that intentionally practicing gratitude can have positive mental, physical, and social
benefits. One study, conducted by researchers Bohlmeijer et al. (2020), found that a daily,
fifteen minute gratitude practice for six week boosted overall mental wellbeing of research
participants. Gratitude may even have important benefits for heart health. A 2019 review of
gratitude research from researchers Jans-Beken (et al) found that gratitude journaling may
cause a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure. The act of practicing gratitude activates
the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxing the body systems. With
all the documented benefits of gratitude, you may be asking yourself how this can be practiced
in your own life. Below are tips to help you get started!
1. Keeping a gratitude journal. This can be as easy as taking a few minutes at the end of each
day to reflect on what you are grateful for-- try being observant throughout the day, and
express thanks for even the smallest moments of life.
2. Sharing the spirit of gratitude. Try expressing thanks to neighbor, family member, or friend.
This could make a world of difference in the lives of others! Sending a thank you note can also
be a way to express thanks for those you are grateful for.
3. Positive reframing. Oftentimes, we may be tempted to look at the negative of a situation.
Actively reframing our thoughts from what we don't have, to what we have and can be grateful
for can shift our perspective and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Struggling to get started? Let one of our skilled therapists help!
By Jade Caswell, MA, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern