Real-Time Tools for Self-Care: Gratitude
Gratitude has been said to be the single best predictor of well-being. The word ‘gratitude’ comes from the Latin word gratus, meaning pleasing or thankful. Saying “thank you” is an expression of gratitude and by acknowledging what you are thankful for, you are being grateful.
The benefits of being grateful are numerous. Grateful people feel less pain, experience less insomnia, less stress, have stronger immune systems, experience healthier relationships, and do better academically and professionally. Grateful people report more moments of happiness and less feelings of envy or resentment. Gratitude or the state of being grateful can boost your mental and physical health and improve your overall mood and sense of well-being.
Cultivating a gratitude practice is simple. Begin today by listing 3 things you are grateful for. I recommend writing them down in a daily log. They can be large areas of gratitude like family and health or smaller things you didn’t know to be grateful for like pre-packaged snacks and air conditioning. No gratitude item is too small. The key for this practice is not to repeat the same 3 things from the day before.
A daily gratitude habit will challenge your mind to look for things to be grateful for. While your mind is on the hunt for things to write down, your attention will be shifted away from negativity and cynicism. What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down” ~Charlie Chaplin
Mental illness impacts millions of people across the globe and affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers.
Despite mental illnesses’ reach and relevance, stigma and misunderstanding are still too common. That is why since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), The National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) and participants across the country dedicate this time to raising awareness about mental illness. NAMI serves to educate the public, fight stigma and provide support.
Mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice.
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