Have you ever had someone tell you that you have so much to be grateful for and no reason to be depressed at all? I have, several times and it is the most annoying thing ever!
People tell me that I have a roof over my head and I have a job, so what exactly do I have to be ungrateful for or unhappy about and why am I depressed, they ask. They will tell me that if I can appreciate the smaller things in life, I will no longer be depressed.
There is definitely some truth to it. If you are grateful and you show more appreciation in life, it will and can improve your wellbeing and happiness. It is essential to learn to be thankful for the things you have, instead of missing the things you don’t have.
Being grateful and practicing gratitude increases happiness and relieves symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. You learn to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts, as you start seeing the good things in life more often.
Realizing the smaller things in life
Depression can be a feeling of hopelessness, which I have felt much of. I am not where I want to be in my life and I have not figured out how I am supposed to get there. I know deep in my heart, that I will never be happy in a typical 9-5 office job. That’s not me.
I want to travel and be able to work wherever I want and whenever I want. This is a long process and one that will take a lot of hard work, but I have finally realized that if I want to be truly happy, this is something I must do. Whatever the cost.
No matter how much I used to focus on the smaller things, that are actually working in my life, I could never get rid of the thought, that I am not where I want to be, and I am not doing, what I want to do – however, practicing gratitude has made me realize that I do have things to be grateful for and when you start to realize those small things in daily life, it changes your thought pattern and positivity.
Practicing gratitude, when you are depressed, definitely did not make a whole lot of sense to me at the moment I started doing it a year ago. In the beginning, I found it very difficult to find anything to be grateful for.
There is always something to be grateful for – it may simply be that the sun is shining today (at least it is not raining) or that you have somewhere to live or food in your fridge.
Does practicing gratitude have any benefits at all?
Yes, it does! I see a lot of mental health patients take medication or maybe doing long-term therapy. Sometimes, all it takes can be a bit of gratitude. When you start reflecting on your life and find just the smaller daily things that you are grateful for, your thoughts and emotions will shift from what is currently stressing you out to what is actually valuable in your life.
When we intentionally shift our thoughts and emotions to the positive things in our lives, we also shift our behavior in a positive direction. Focusing on positive things and what is actually working in your life, makes you focus less on the negative things and your depressing thoughts. Being grateful for the smaller things in life has several health benefits. It can:
- Create opportunities for new relationships
- Improve your physical health
- Improve your mental health and psychological health
- Enhance empathy and reduce aggression
- Improve your sleep
- Improve your self-esteem
- Increase your mental strength
All of us have the ability to be grateful. Unfortunately, many people find it difficult and instead they complain about things in their lives that are not working. Several studies suggest that practicing gratitude makes us happier.
A five-minute daily gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10%. Practicing gratitude also makes people more inclined to like you as a person, as gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, more social and more appreciative.
As a result, practicing gratitude helps us make more friends, deepen our existing relationships and even improve our marriage.
In this article, I highly recommend The 5-Minute Journal in order to practice gratitude. Please let me know what you think if you decide to try this for yourself.
Five ways to practice gratitude at home
- Write it down
- Say it out loud
- Practice self-love and self-care
- Thank you wise self
- Send love
My favorite book for practicing gratitude in 2019
This journal is designed to help us focus on being thankful for what we have, for the big things in life and the simple joys.
Plus, it’s got a cute design, motivational and inspirational quotes, short and sweet places to write in. Every day you write down three things you are grateful for. You get more creative for each day.
In today’s world we are always thinking about our future. We are always trying to plan how we want our future to be. So much so, that we often forget to appreciate the things that are good in our lives.
Look around and appreciate all of the wonderful things you have in your life at the moment. The only way we can be happy is to be happy at this exact moment. Because that is the only time we have. Forget the past and the future and live in the moment.
Robert Emmons said: “Gratitude blocks toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, regret and depression, which can destroy our happiness. It’s impossible to feel envious and grateful at the same time.”
How do you practice gratitude? Do you practice gratitude at all? I would love to hear from you…