Monday Mindset - What are you grateful for?
In tough times it is sometimes easy to focus on what is going wrong or what we do not possess. When you are stressed, or you feel like things aren’t going your way, all the negative and pessimistic thoughts may seem easier to retrieve, pushing positivity to the back of your mind. The opposite of focusing on the negatives is to focus on what you are grateful for, flooding the negatives with the positives in your life.
Gratitude is a weapon in the toolbox of positive psychology and can be defined as the “worldview toward noticing and appreciating the positive in life” .
Practicing gratitude has been proven to help with depression, increase self-esteem, improve meaning in life, greaten life satisfaction, and contribute to improving the quality of yourrelationships .
Practicing gratitude in your everyday life can improve feelings of happiness and practicing gratitude during challenging times has been proven to help strengthen resilience, increasing your ability to cope with unprecedented times and bounce back from obstacles in your life’s path .
Gratitude is skill that you can practice in order to help inhibit negative emotions .
I use the word ‘practice’ purposefully. If it helps you can view it like a weakness you have in the gym, the more you practice something that you find difficult, the more natural the movement will begin to feel over time, eventually getting to the point where you don’t have to think about it at all! Gratitude may not be something that comes naturally to all people. But the more you practice it, you will find morepositive and grateful thoughts naturally possessing your mindand guiding your interactions with other people.
How to practice gratitude you ask? It is super simple!
Some people write gratitude journals, some people tell their partner what they are grateful for each morning or night, and some might tell themselves in the mirror in the morning what they are grateful for. Any of these examples are easy ways to incorporate practicing gratitude into your life without any effort, and as you practice it the more natural it will become, slowly seeping into different aspects of your life and providing you yet another coping mechanism for coping with difficult times.
One study has even shown that publicly sharing your own gratitude can have positive impacts on those who you share with! Sciara et al.  found that observing displays of gratitude by others on social media platforms improved the viewer’s experience of gratitude and improved aspects of their wellbeing such as their satisfaction with life! So, publicly practicing your own gratitude not only has the potential to improve your own well-being, but also the well-being of your friends and family… what a bonus! :-)
Here is a simple way to get started practicing gratitude… If you have found yourself in a negative mindset recently and have been focusing a lot of energy on what you do not have, and all the things you are losing due to COVID-19, then this is an easy way to put some of that energy into what you already have in front of you and is positively impacting your life regardless of your circumstances.
Here is some homework
Let’s practice some gratitude!
Every day for the next 7 days, ask yourself “What are three things I am grateful for?”
These three things can be within that moment, within the hour, the day, the week, or just within your life.
Write down these three things and share them with at least one other person each day… and encourage them to do the same back! Remember how sharing your gratitude can help others experience gratitude of their own :-)
What your three things are can be as simple as “running hot water”… as long as you identify three things you are grateful for each day, and you do not repeat any of the things you name within the 7 days.
At the end of the 7 days, you should have a list of 21 things you are grateful for that you that you can reflect on.
Good luck, and I can’t wait to hear some of the things you are all grateful for! :-)
Here is an example of what I am grateful for today to get you all started :-)
A. R. Kaniuka, J. K. Rabon, B. D. Brooks, F. Sirois, E. Kleiman and J. K. Hirsch, "Gratitude and suicide risk among college students: Substantiating the protective benefits of being thankful," Journal of American College Health, vol. 69, no. 6, pp. 660-667, 2021.
I. I. Llenares, C. C. Deocaris, M. Espanola and J. A. Sario, "Gratitude moderates the relationship between happiness and resilience," International Journal of Emotional Education, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 103-108, 2020.
Y. Mao, J. Zhao, Y. Xu and Y. Xiang, "How gratitude inhibits envy: From the perspective of positive psychology," PsyCh Journal, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 384-392, 2020.
S. Sciara, D. Villani, A. F. D. Natale and C. Regalia, "Gratitude and social media: A pilot experiment on the benefits of exposure to others' grateful interactions on facebook," Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, 2021.