Gratitude is proven to reduce stress
It might sound like a corny concept, but gratitude is truly an effective way to combat stress.
Studies show that practicing gratitude can make you happier, lower stress, protect you from depression, help you sleep better, boost your immune system, and improve your relationships.
Gratitude ISN’T about ignoring bad things
Let’s be clear. Being grateful doesn’t mean ignoring negative feelings. Nobody is suggesting that caregivers should suck it up and be thankful no matter how tough things get.
Gratitude is about noticing that there are always some good things in your life, no matter how dark it may seem. Being aware of that helps you get a different perspective. It also helps you to see that things are not 100% terrible. And you know what? Sometimes that’s actually comforting.
2 reasons why gratitude reduces stress
1. Gratitude helps you become more optimistic
Getting into the habit of noticing and being grateful for the good things (small or big) improves your overall attitude and trains your brain to become naturally more optimistic.
2. It’s about focusing on what you DO have
Instead of getting into a negative spiral about what you don’t have, use gratitude to pay attention to what you do have. Focus on the people, situations, and things that make life better.
Try a gratitude journal
One of the best (and simplest) ways to practice gratitude is to keep a journal. This can be any kind of notebook or a document on your computer.
The point is to give you a place to write down things that make you feel grateful. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Set aside a few minutes each day to think about and write down one or more things you’re grateful for.
- Read over your journal when you’re feeling down or extra stressed. It can be a good pick-me-up.
- Notice big things (I’m grateful that I have a caring person in my life) as well as small things (I really enjoyed the weather today) – everything counts!
Practicing gratitude by keeping a journal is free, is easy to do, and could reduce your stress. Why not try it for a couple of weeks and then see how you feel?