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How does practicing gratitude improve your mental health?

According to life coach Derrick Carpenter, people who regularly practice gratitude find many benefits
Gratitude, sunset, happiness
An opinion piece on the benefits of practising gratitude

“Remember your P’s and Q’s” is an old proverb that helps to teach gratitude, and it also helps with positive mental well-being.  

According to life coach Derrick Carpenter, people who regularly practice gratitude find many benefits. By taking time to notice and reflect, grateful people experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even boast of stronger immune systems.  

Carpenter says practising gratitude can be big or small; it’s perfectly fine to thoughtfully appreciate something as simple as homemade dessert. 

When a person is thinking about things they are grateful for, it is very difficult for negative thoughts and voices to exist. Gratitude naturally shifts our brain into a positive thinking space as it is difficult to think negatively about things we are actively appreciating. The best part of this coping skill is that there is no right or wrong way to do it, the only way is what works best for you.  

There are many different ways to practice gratitude, even if for 60 seconds. You could say it out loud or write out what you are grateful for as a way to start your day. You can also review things you were grateful for during the day before falling asleep a night, which can also help improve your sleep.   

Try a gratitude walk, where you take stock of what is around you and notice the good things as you walk. A different way to experience gratefulness is to spend time with a person who you appreciate and appreciates you.  

And while you’re at it, why not include others directly into your expression of gratitude? You could write a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked. You could also share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks. 

It is not easy to practice gratitude when you are feeling mentally unwell as it can feel like the last thing you want to do. It is a very powerful way to help boost your mood and shift your mindset. Mindy Kaling put it beautifully when she said “Gratitude is the closest thing to beauty manifested in emotion.” Gratitude is a great coping skill because it is free and always accessible. 

If you need someone to talk to, contact Envision Counselling and Support Centre to find out more about our Rapid Access Counselling, which accommodates both in-person and telephone needs. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 9-1-1.