Gratitude–It Helps In More Ways Than You Might Think

Evelyn Lim

Nurse Koutsoheras

Searching for the positive things in life is not always an easy thing to do, but can really help us physically, emotionally, and mentally during times of crisis. Stressful situations are often anxiety producing and our tendency is to focus on the challenges or how bad things seem. Instead, we should try to shift our thinking and focus on what is good and what is going right, we will find ourselves better able to cope. One way to help focusing on the good is by expressing gratitude.  Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation for someone or something, and is an expression that we are all capable of. It is not something that we can get wrong, and if we express gratitude toward someone, it benefits both you and the other person.

The ability to express gratitude has been proven to benefit not only our emotional well-being, but our physical health and mental well-being as well. One way you can focus more on gratitude is to keep a simple journal. It does not have to be fancy, or take a lot of time. For example, every evening before bed, write down three things from your day that you have been grateful for or that have given you good feelings. As time goes on, you may find yourself with a more positive attitude, you may cope better with day to day stress, and you may even find yourself getting fewer illnesses. There have been studies done, and the results concluded that people who kept a gratitude journal as opposed to a regular journal caught fewer colds. There was another study done where the gratitude journal group had more antibodies in their blood after receiving the seasonal flu shot than those who kept a regular journal. That is amazing to me. There have been other studies as well that have shown an increase in creativity and problem solving. There are no ill effects of expressing gratitude. If journal keeping is not your thing, tell the people in your life that you are grateful for them, or talk to someone about things that bring you joy or happiness. It is remarkable that if you can express gratitude your health may be better, or you might be more creative, have more ideas, or be more resilient. Amazing!

On a personal note, two of my kids and I started keeping gratitude journals. We write in them separately, each day. I have found that, even in a short amount of time, we are all getting along a little bit better and are a bit more understanding of each other. It might be a coincidence, but I know for sure that I feel a little bit better each night before I turn out the light. This might be something worth trying for yourselves. Give it a try, and stick with it for a bit, and see how you do. I would love to hear about your experiences with gratitude. I hope you are all doing well, and while I am grateful to have this extra time around my kids, I have missed you all and look forward to seeing each of you again soon.