Gratitude isn’t something that you should have; it’s something that you need to have, especially if you suffer from anxiety or depression. The link between gratitude and anxiety, and gratitude for happiness is quite astonishing and in many ways, being grateful for even the simplest of things can help alleviate anxiety as a whole.
What is Gratitude?
There’s a common misconception that gratitude is simply being thankful and saying “Thank You” to others. However, gratitude is much more like an emotion than it is an anxiety. It’s the feeling of being thankful and appreciative and returning the favour with kindness.
What Does Gratitude and Anxiety Have to Do With One Another?
It’s believed (and studies show) that when you have gratitude, the weight of anxiety gets lifted off your shoulders. You’re able to see the good in even the worst of situations; you can see the light in even the darkest of moments.
How Can Gratitude Can Help Anxiety Sufferers
The link between gratitude and anxiety goes far beyond just being able to see the positive in situations.
1. Gratitude Can Rewire Your Brain
One of the biggest benefits of gratitude and anxiety is that by having one, you can eliminate the other. Expressing and harnessing gratitude has shown to have the ability to rewire your brain to ultimately eliminate anxiety completely. This is through the process of plasticity which studies have revealed, with the right actions and thought patterns, you can rewire your brain and eliminate those anxious triggers.
A study conducted by Berkley University showed that, by simply writing gratitude letters or in a gratitude journal, you can improve your mental health in as little as four weeks.
2. Gratitude Allows You To See Past Your Anxiety
When you practice gratitude, you’re able to see past what’s making you anxious in the first place. So, you may be anxious about going to a social event but with your newfound gratitude, you’ll pay more attention to the fact that you get to see people you’ve missed. The best part? It happens naturally and the switch in your brain isn’t forced nor is it superficial.
3. Gratitude Helps You Live Well Despite Your Mental Illness
Gratitude has the ability to improve your wellbeing. This allows you to simply live better; to be content and satisfied with your life – mentally, emotionally and physically.
4. Gratitude Helps Build Confidence to Eliminate Social Anxiety
Many studies have shown that those with gratitude experience higher levels of self-esteem. This can be particularly beneficial for anyone suffering from a lack of confidence or social anxiety.
5. Gratitude Allows You to Be More Optimistic
Being optimistic is a huge part of overcoming your anxiety. After all, when you’re constantly seeing the negative side of things, it can be hard to crawl out of that dark hole.
Fortunately, since gratitude rewires and trains your brain to see the good in everything, you automatically become more optimistic. You’re able to see things differently, and more positively.
Studies have shown that it only takes 10 weeks of gratitude practices to experience a drastic increase in optimism.
6. Gratitude Increases Your Happiness
This benefit of gratitude and anxiety goes hand-in-hand with the prior. When you’re more optimistic, you’re happier.
However, studies have also discovered that being grateful just makes you happier. A group of researchers conducted a study on people writing thank you letters. For those who completed the task, they experienced an immediate increase in happiness and life satisfaction. More importantly, the spike of happiness and satisfaction lasted for weeks.
7. Gratitude Alleviates Stress
Although anxiety and stress are not the same thing, the two are closely related. After all, when you’re stressed, it’s significantly easier to have your anxiety triggered. Fortunately, gratitude can help.
Research has shown that by cultivating appreciation, you can decrease your cortisol levels (your stress hormone) which instantly decreases your stress.
8. Gratitude Helps You Sleep at Night
Many anxiety sufferers struggle with getting to sleep and staying asleep due to the racing thoughts in their minds. Being and feeling grateful can help with this.
Many studies have shown that when you’re appreciative of the things around you, getting a deep, restorative, healthy sleep becomes much easier. This is likely due to the brain rewiring itself and training your mind to focus on the good thoughts that won’t keep you up all night long.
How to Practice Gratitude?
You can practice gratitude many different ways, so we will dedicate an entire post to this shortly.
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However, to get you started on this mindful journey, here are some of our favourites ways to practice gratitude.
- Write in a Gratitude Journal
- Meditate to Manifest Mindfulness and Positive Feelings
- List 3 Things Your Grateful For Each Night
- Give People The Benefit of the Doubt to See The Good in the Bad
- Start Your Day Off Thinking About Something You’re Grateful For
What are you grateful for?
Join the Anxiety Gone community on Facebook and Instagram. Speak with a professional therapist if you’re experiencing a crisis. Online therapy can give you a new perspective and approach to tackling whatever it is you’re dealing with. With online therapy, you can get the best therapist for you depending on your situation and can reach out to them whenever you need.
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