At the start of this year i began a gratitude journal. Research indicates that grateful people are more likely to:
- take better care of themselves physically and mentally
- engage in more protective health behaviours and maintenance
- get more regular exercise
- eat a healthier diet
- have improved mental alertness
- schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor
- cope better with stress and daily challenges
- feel happier and more optimistic
- avoid problematic physical symptoms
- have stronger immune systems
- maintain a brighter view of the future
Last year I had a major depressive episode. I’ve never had depression before, so it was quiet a challenging experience. One of the first things I was asked to do by the mental health team was write down everything I was grateful for, I managed to fill in a whole page (something I was grateful for!)! I’m finding it’s all different types of things I am grateful for, not just major life events, I find myself writing about being grateful for sunflowers in my garden, for cuddles with my children in the morning, for good coffee and beautiful dresses. It’s given me a new appreciation for my life, and I am finding that helps me to stay well.
We’ve also started discussing gratitude with our children at dinner. Each night at the dinner table we all take turns talking about our highlights from the day and something we are grateful for. Research indicates that gratitude is one of the biggest predictors of life satisfaction regardless of the demographic, but gratitude does not come naturally to children it is taught. We are finding that the kids are enjoying talking about their day and what they are grateful for, and even when they’ve had a bad day, we find we can always help them to identify something good from that day.
For me it’s a year since I was unwell, and I’m think I’m doing really well. Some days things can be challenging, but I’m finding it gets easier, and being grateful helps me to realise their are so many good things in my life.
Have a lovely day
Miss Lucy x