Practising gratitude

Gratitude is not a new concept. Since ancient times. Behavioural expression of gratitude is common among people from different regions and cultures. For example, showing gratitude to God, being grateful to the nature for producing food etc.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is a state of being glad, appreciative and thankful for the good things or circumstances you are given. The good things you have can be tangible, they can also be intangible.

Where does gratitude come from?

Gratitude means understanding that you can get what is meaningful to you not because of your own abilities and believe that the givers are heartfelt and selfless.

The benefits of gratitude to mental health

In terms of brain functions

Psychological studies found that, gratitude can stimulate the brain regions which are responsible for mood regulation, memory and body functions.

In terms of emotions

Making people experience more positive emotions especially happiness and contentment, can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, reducing loneliness.

In terms of thoughts

Can make you become aware and appreciative of the good things you have. It is easier for you to focus on the positive side during adverse situations. Keep being optimistic and hopeful.

In terms of relationships

It will be easier for you to develop empathy for others can help you build, improve, strengthen and maintain interpersonal relationships.

In terms of body

Making you feel lively and energetic, help relieve painful feelings, become less stressful and have better sleeping quality.

Obstacles to gratitude

Consider what you have as your own merit

Consider the good things or situations you are given as a result of your own merit. For example, “I am clever that’s why I can study”.

Take what you have as granted

Or take the good things or situations you are given as granted. For example, “parents are responsible for supporting me financially”, “no matter what I do, my good friends have to support me”.

Set prerequisites for gratitude

The thought of “happiness makes me grateful” draws attention to your moods.
If you cannot get what you want, you will be in bad mood and not be grateful.

Practise gratitude

On the contrary, “gratitude makes me happy” helps focus your thoughts on being thankful to the beautiful things and opportunities you had in the past, present or future. We can practise gratitude through various simple daily activities.

Develop the habit of expressing gratitude

Develop the habit of giving thanks to people who help us. For example, say thank you to your family who prepare your meals every day.

Count your blessings every day

Develop a daily quiet time routine to count your blessings. Concentrate on your feelings in between. For example, you saw a passerby help an injured student who fell down on you way back to school. Feeling the joy of love is all around.

Write a gratitude journal

Develop the habit of writing a gratitude journal. Documenting all the good deeds in life, no matter big and small. For example, someone nodded and smiled at you as encouragement, having good weather etc. Writing a gratitude journal not only can improve your attention to good deeds, you can also deepen your understanding in the process of description.

Listen more

Listen and read more about the experiences, thoughts and feelings of others receiving help when in need.

Observe your own feelings

When others express gratitude for your help, observe closely your positive thoughts and feelings. For example, if you can help others or receive unconditional help from others, you will feel blessed too.