Practicing Gratitude Helps My Anxiety
It's the holidays again, and I've found that this is a good time of year to not only say thanks but actively practice gratitude to help my anxiety. I've learned that gratitude can be a very powerful emotion and can actually help reduce stress and lessen the symptoms of anxiety that I experience.
This is, of course, something that can be practiced on a daily basis and not just on Thanksgiving. However, I've found that the Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to remind yourself of things you are grateful for and the benefits of doing so. According to some research studies, practicing gratitude has been associated with increased happiness.1
How I Practice Gratitude to Cope with Anxiety
In my work, I talk about the benefits of reminding yourself of things you are thankful for, strategies for doing this, as well as why it is helpful. I've learned that practicing the benefits of gratitude starts with self-awareness and taking the time to reflect on how you feel when you do.
For example, I've found that visualizing things that I am grateful for, whether it is through a picture or something I've written down, can be tremendously helpful in moments of stress. For that reason, I've placed reminders strategically, in the form of pictures and phrases, in various places that I frequent. This was something I started doing in graduate school, and I noticed that when I would feel my anxiety rise, looking at those reminders would immediately help me feel better.
Another strategy I use is taking the time to practice mindfulness meditation. Because the physical symptoms of anxiety are often the most troubling for me, I pay close attention to strategies that help calm them. Mindfulness meditation is a strategy that helps to immediately calm any physical symptoms of anxiety.
Lastly, another beneficial strategy is talking about what I am grateful for, whether it is with someone I trust or through journaling. Either method allows me to instantly experience the positive emotions that are associated with being grateful.
When I use these strategies, I also intentionally focus on the positive emotions instead of dwelling on any negative emotions I am experiencing. This takes practice, but the more I've been able to work on this, the easier it has become.
Why Practicing Gratitude Is Helpful for Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders
In the video below, I've shared how practicing gratitude is helpful for my anxiety. If there are strategies you use, please share them in the comments below.
Harvard Health. (2021, August 14). Giving thanks can make you happier. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2023, November 23). Practicing Gratitude Helps My Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2023/11/practicing-gratitude-helps-my-anxiety