An Attitude of Gratitude: How being thankful can reduce anxiety and depression

have an attitude of gratitude

Let’s give that attitude a little gratitude, shall we?

Do you have a bad attitude clinging to you like glitter from a greeting card or your kid’s school project? Don’t worry. We’ve all fallen victim to the glitter tragedy at some point in our lives. But, unlike glitter, you can shake that bad attitude with a dash of gratitude — an attitude of gratitude.

Have you sat down and identified the things you are grateful for recently or was the last time you did this Thanksgiving of last year? If you answered the latter, you are missing out! Gratitude is so powerful and can be a weapon to fight off that crappy attitude. You deserve to be negativity (and glitter) free!

What is gratitude?

First, what exactly is gratitude? Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. How does that sound? Does it sound impossible to find gratitude in your darkest of days? I promise you, it’s not nearly as difficult as it may sound at first.

You may be wondering what gratitude has to do with your mental health. Well, the answer is… a lot. Not practicing gratitude on a regular basis can lead to some crappy emotions. Think of it as glitter piling up on itself, making it even harder to get rid of. So what exactly are the negative emotions that lack of gratitude can cause?

  • Depression or sadness that good things just aren’t happening for you
  • Anxiety or worry that things just aren’t going right for you
  • Anger that other people or external factors aren’t making you happy
  • Resentment that other people make it look so easy to be happy
  • Fear that you won’t be able to succeed and/or find happiness

Whoa, that’s a lot of glitter, right? Sheesh! In reading that, did you notice that everything was listed as if your happiness wasn’t within your control? We often rely on external factors or people to make us happy. Feeling a lack of control to foster your own happiness sucks. So, let’s talk about how to practice gratitude to improve your happiness.

How to practice an attitude of gratitude

First: Don’t be picky about what you should be grateful for. There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how small it may seem! For example, I’m grateful for the weather today. I’m grateful to have awesome pets that make me laugh like a toddler. I’m grateful to be able to share the importance of gratitude. Even the smallest piece of gratitude can chip away at that pesky glitter.

Second: It’s important to find gratitude in challenges. Ummm… what? Yep, I said find gratitude in challenges. As much as it sucks to struggle through a challenge there is plenty to be grateful for! For example, I’m grateful that challenges help me grow, learn new skills, and recognize how strong and awesome I am. I bet you can agree with that, too! This is a major glitter defender. Trust me!

Third: Take time every day to make a gratitude list. This may seem silly but it’s extremely powerful to shake off that glitter and find your happiness. Whether you make a mental list, write it down, or type it into your phone, take some time to identify 3-5 things you are grateful for every day. The more you do this, the easier it will become. If you want to step it up a notch, buy yourself a gratitude journal to keep a record of things you’re grateful for every day.

Finally: Practice gratitude with others. Doesn’t it feel great to get a compliment from someone? You probably feel compelled to return some kindness for that compliment. So, why not practice gratitude with those we love? Give them a compliment or tell them why you are grateful to have them in your life. You can help save them from glitter while you’re scrubbing yours away!

Why does this work?

If you find yourself wondering how this whole attitude of gratitude thing actually works, I’ll give you the short explanation. Gratitude increases dopamine (the pleasure chemical) in your brain. You’ll discover that in practicing gratitude, you’ll be more motivated to continue because your brain is telling you it feels good. When you are practicing gratitude, you are lowering the cortisol (the stress hormone aka the glitter producer). In addition to your brain activity, practicing gratitude can also improve your health by lowering glitter levels- err, I mean stress levels.

But wait, there’s more…

All things considered, sometimes the glitter is far too thick to get unstuck on our own. Speaking with an empathetic therapist can help you chip away at those layers of glitter and discover things to be grateful for. There’s no shame in drowning in glitter, and there’s no shame in getting help. It’s time to take action and give that attitude some gratitude. If you’re ready to be glitter-free and happy again, schedule an appointment with a counselor that gets what you’re going through today either through the client portal or call the office at 770-283-8386. We can help you shake off that glitter and learn how powerful gratitude truly is.

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Nadya Clontz, APC brings her fun and quirky sense of humor to her counseling practice. She has a passion for helping people living with chronic illness, LGBT+ folx, and emerging adults (18-25 years old). When she’s not in the counseling room, she can be found tending to either her dogs or her roses.

 

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