Wellbeing message for August: Gratitude


Why is gratitude good for wellbeing?

Did you know that people who spend just a few minutes a day thinking about things they are grateful for have an increased sense of happiness and wellbeing (Wong and Brown, 2017; Emmons and McCullough, 2003)? Because the simple act of being grateful can have such a huge impact on our wellbeing, gratitude is our Wellbeing theme this month at OAC.

How can you practise gratitude?

Being grateful refocuses our thoughts away from a negative bias (nothing ever goes right for me, this always happens) and into a more positive mindset. The best part is that it doesn’t take much time, is free and doesn’t take a lot of effort to find things to be grateful for. When people feel really down, they can find it hard to find things to be grateful for. But we can all be grateful for small as well as big things; a deep, relaxing breath; a kind look from a stranger; things we find beautiful in nature, a meal on our plate. Here are some ideas from the research:

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal-three short sentences a day can literally keep the psychologist away and reduce mental health challenges.
  • Share a moment of gratitude at dinner time with your family-over time, you might notice how this becomes your favourite part of the day.
  • Write Thank You texts, emails and letters to people as a way to make the perks of gratitude contagious-you feel good because you made others feel good. The increases in happiness ratings after giving just one thank you letter can last for a whole month! You can read more research here
  • Develop a Mindfulness practice-this can make us stop and focus on the here and now, to ‘smell the roses’ instead of rushing past them, noticing-and then feeling grateful for-their beauty. Learn how to do this for free here

Lisa Hannaford, Psychologist
On behalf of The Wellbeing Team

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Last updated: 04 August 2020