Gratitude is the Attitude that you Want!
Research on gratitude clearly shows both physical and mental health benefits.
Posted Dec 24, 2012
In my clinical practice I see many patients who, as they reflect upon the year and their current place in life, get pretty down on themselves for not achieving more or not having the kind of life and lifestyle that they had hoped and dreamed for. Some are so depressed and even suicidal.
For example, one patient that I saw recently is very depressed. He gets very down on himself feeling that he never achieved what he wished he could have achieved and for not having the kind of marriage he hoped for. Since he is entering his elderly years and coming close to retirement he has little hope that life will significantly change for the better. As he reflects upon his life at the end of the year he sees the glass as half empty rather than half full.
Another patient feels the same way. he also reflects on his life as we come to the end of 2012 and feels despondent. He also sees the glass as half empty not noticing all of the positive things in his life.
My patients and I are working on what they are grateful for and reflecting how, for example, they have both touched so many people in very positive ways during their lives. Asking them to list the things that they are grateful for has made a big difference in their mood and perspective. Listing those who they have helped and cared for has been helpful too.
One important intervention strategy that anyone can do is to spend just a few minutes each day reflecting on your day and list at least a few things that you are grateful for that happened or didn’t happen. This list could include very small items (e.g., a smile from a friend or stranger, a sunny day) or very big things as well (e.g., avoiding a potential car crash, a promotion at work). really, just spend even only a minute every day doing this exercise. It will likely make a difference for you.
So, as we come to the end of 2012 and turn to 2013 spend just a few moments each day to list out what you are grateful for. See what it does for your mood and perspective over time. I bet it will help you.