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Consciously training our sense of gratitude is good for mental health

Showing gratitude is beneficial

Showing gratitude is beneficial

Research reveals that people with a sense of gratitude - focusing on what is good in their life - are happier and less likely to suffer from psychological issues.

Training yourself to be more thankful can help you feel better and increase your mental resilience.

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Consciously training our sense of gratitude is good for mental health

Consciously training our sense of gratitude is good for mental health

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-consciously-gratitude-good-mental-health.html

medicalxpress.com

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Key Ideas

Showing gratitude is beneficial

Research reveals that people with a sense of gratitude - focusing on what is good in their life - are happier and less likely to suffer from psychological issues.

Training yourself to be more thankful can help you feel better and increase your mental resilience.

Effect of gratitude on mental well-being

One study shows that a six-week training in which participants were trained in their awareness of gratitude led to an increase in thankfulness as well as an increase in their sense of well-being.

The effect on well-being was noticeable for up to six months after the training.

Training ourselves

To develop a sense of gratitude, do the following for about 10 to 15 minutes every day.

  • Actively focus on feeling thankful.
  • Express gratitude to others.
  • Write positively about your own life.
  • Reflect on the positive effects of adversity.

The idea is not to ignore bad experiences. Acknowledge difficulties while appreciating the positive things in life.

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More than 20 million Americans...
More than 20 million Americans...

...practice yoga, making it one of the most popular forms of exercise.

Yoga and other forms of exercise

Although the research on yoga is still weak, based on the available findings, Yoga is probably just as good for your health as many other forms of exercise. 

It seems particularly promising for improving lower back pain and — crucially — reducing inflammation in the body.

Unclear benefits of Yoga

There is no certainty whether some forms of yoga are better than others, whether yoga should be prescribed to people for various health conditions, and how yoga compares with other forms of exercise. 

There's also no good evidence behind many of the supposed health benefits of yoga, like flushing out toxins and stimulating digestion.

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10 Benefits Of Tai Chi According To Research
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The imposter

True mindfulness has been spoiled by an imposter. The imitation provides an excuse to be self-centered and self-indulgent. It promises health and spiritual purity.

Definition of mindfulness

Mindfulness is the nonjudgemental awareness of the richness, subtlety and variety of the present moment, not just of the self. It is not the same as meditation, although meditation can form part of it.

Mindfulness acknowledges every moment of existence, good and bad. It is used to stand still in the moment, reflect and gain perspective.

Mindfulness is a limited tool

Gazing inward to focus on a connection with yourself cannot deliver magical benefits. Acknowledging your thoughts is not the same as cherishing them.

While mindfulness has some usefulness, we should also realize the benefits when we lose self-awareness, for example when we are in a state of flow.

What you write, you learn

The key to learning is to stop passively consuming information and start actively engaging with the ideas we encounter.

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What you write, you control
  • Recording your thoughts in a medium outside your own head helps your mind to become quieter: It stops returning to the same worn-out mental loops over and over. 
  • When you recount and reflect upon your thoughts and experiences you are, in effect, telling your own story. Journaling helps us clarify, edit, and find new meaning in these narratives.
Journaling and personal goals
Journaling about your goals helps you clarify what you want and encourages you to consider the why and how not just the what

It serves as a tool for identifying what you should prioritize on a daily basis, and what you should let go of. And it also gives you a record of the progress you’ve made toward your goals to keep you motivated.

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Use of mindfulness
Mindfulness can be used as a preventative treatment for depression.

The idea is that you actively pay attention to the moment, without judging. It helps the mind to revisit thoughts about...

Mindfulness as an effective treatment

There is clinical evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a way to prevent depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness may be good for other psychiatric conditions including bipolar disorder.

There is also growing evidence that mindfulness is effective for chronic long-term health conditions.

Mindfulness can be overstated

Mindfulness is not a cure all. With all the hype around mindfulness it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether the information is quality-controlled and reliable. We need  to be careful not to overstate it's usefulness.

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Flow is a state of complete absorption and full involvement in the present moment. 

It is marked by intense concentration, a sense of timelessness, and a loss of self-consciousness. It’s a deeply healing and enjoyable state and one that greatly contributes to our happiness.

Activities of happy people
  • They meditate.
  • They exercise regularly. “Surveys show that exercise may very well be the most effective instant happiness booster of all activities.”
  • They stop and smell the roses. 
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Mental Health on the Rise

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Exercise to treat Depression

Regular exercise can treat mild to moderate depression, as good as the antidepressants.

Exercise provides us with feel-good chemicals made naturally inside our body, as the brain releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.

Exercising for Self-Esteem

Exercise also has a psychological benefit of making us feel great.

Using exercise as a social activity, we improve our self-esteem and get to meet new people, forming healthy and positive connections

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Appreciate everything

The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for.

Find gratitude in your challenges

Gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences. Sometimes thinking about negative or difficult situations can help to really nail down what you have to be thankful for.

Dig a little deeper into some of your own past experiences and try to figure out how they have helped shape you into the person you are today.

Practice mindfulness

Sit down daily and think through five to ten things you are grateful for. 

Picture it in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this every day will rewire your brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier after every session.

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Make room for your emotions
Make room for your emotions

Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet, compared emotions to unexpected visitors. 

We're supposed to let them in and not hide from them, suppress them or pretend they do not exist.

Gaining peace of mind

In a society that promotes gratitude and positivity, there is pressure to suppress or conceal negative feelings.

But psychological studies reveal that acceptance of your negative feelings promotes emotional resilience, with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The magic of acceptance

Acceptance of negative emotions involves not trying to change how we feel but taking them for what they are.

Acceptance works because it blunts the emotional reactions to stressful events. In time, it can lead to positive psychological health.

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