Using gratitude to help with anxiety and depression
Without “hope” it can be very difficult to “kick-start” yourself on a day when you wake up feeling miserable and hopeless. Yet it seems these days are common to all people at some point in their life, with many different ways of responding.
Some people say they simply refuse to acknowledge low mood, and instead throw themselves into a hive of activity through work or exercise, as if drowning out any negative feelings that are threatening to emerge. Others say they feel completely disabled and unable to function, at quite the opposite end of the spectrum, and some describe a lurking sense of doom and gloom that can pass as quickly as it seemed to appear.
A few people struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety or panic on a more frequent basis, coming to expect low mood as more of a daily norm. These people feel that positive moments are few and far between and relay life as a drudge without much pleasure.
However you experience “ups and downs” in mindset or mood, you may find it useful to consider that this is a natural process of living as a human being. Our ability to tune in to both “negative” as well as “positive” is a mechanism that can guide our decision-making and behaviour. Whilst there may be many contributing factors, such as diet, recent events, work, relationship or health issues, increasing research studies are showing that a daily practice of gratitude can significantly improve your quality of life.
Would you consider spending five minutes every day thinking about what you’re grateful for if it:
- Improves your health.
- Enhances your career.
- Increases your social connections.
- Influences your personality for the better.
- Strengthens your emotions.
Over 40 studies demonstrate the power of daily gratitude - http://happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/
If you want to start your own practice, then simply decide when is the best time for you to have a little reflection space and respond to the following:
'Today, I am grateful for…' by either writing or saying out loud to yourself or someone else. Then do this every day.
Counselling coaching can provide a useful space to explore your particular “ups and downs” in mind-set or mood, and help you create a supportive life structure.
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About Claire Sainsbury
Claire Sainsbury is an integrative counsellor and coach with a special interest in helping people change unhealthy life habits to promote a better quality of living.