Why Gratitude Is Good for Our Mental Health
Wednesday, November 30 2016 Hannah Blum
There are a variety of reasons why gratitude is good for our mental health. Gratitude simply means expressing feelings of thankfulness. During depressive episodes or in moments of deep despair it can be discouraging when people encourage you to be grateful for all you have. It causes feelings of guilt on the behalf of the depressed person. Mental health conditions such as depression or bipolar affect all types of people. Although a person's life may be filled with riches it does not eliminate the effects of depression. Nevertheless, our mental health can be helped with gratitude.
Many Reasons Why Gratitude Is Good for Our Mental Health
Gratitude is not a cure for depression but there are a variety of reasons why gratitude is good for our mental health. It is a form of coping that encourages reflection. Reflecting on the positive aspects of our lives is a good distraction away from the internal pain we may be enduring. Gratitude decreases stress and fortifies the immune system. Feelings of thankfulness help people cope with problems and encourages a more optimistic attitude. This can be difficult when your mind is clouded with emotional pain but necessary for coping with depression.
The Science Behind Gratitude and Its Effect on Mental Health
According to two studies cited in Newsweek, there is scientific evidence to prove the benefits of gratitude. A 2009 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research reveals that gratitude improves sleep quality. The article states that simply writing out a list of things you are thankful for will help improve sleep. In a 2006 study in the journal of Behaviour Research and Therapy conducted on Vietnam War veterans, results revealed that participants were less impacted by posttraumatic stress disorder.
These studies give supporting evidence of the positive effect gratitude has on mental health. However, it is difficult to believe that people are more depressed or worse off with their mental health because they are less thankful than others. Regardless, gratitude is good for mental health because it encourages a positive outlook when negative thoughts seem to overwhelm the mind.
Learning about mental health and listening to the stories of others who struggled with a disorder has allowed me to be grateful for my mind. I am thankful for my struggle because it has built me into the woman I am today. It gives a different perspective on the word "gratitude" and how it's used by the majority of people, including myself.
Bipolar Disorder Causes Do Not Include an Ungrateful Attitude
Prior to my diagnosis of bipolar type II, when I began to experience symptoms heavily, I went to a social worker for help. She diagnosed me with "spoiled brat syndrome." The professional believed my ungrateful attitude was the problem at hand. I stopped looking for help after that experience and was hospitalized for bipolar less than two years later.
Watch this to learn more about my diagnosis of an "ungrateful, spoiled brat."