How to Express Gratitude | Psychiatric center

Many experts believe that negative or unhelpful thought patterns and cognitive distortions can contribute to certain mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

Dealing with cognitive distortions and unnecessary thoughts is a key principle of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to help people identify and change their thought patterns.

In a sense, gratitude is a positive cognitive distortion. Instead of focusing on the negatives in life or assuming the worst, expressing gratitude encourages you to redirect your attention to the people, places, things, and experiences that make your life richer.

Additionally, a gratitude practice can help improve your mood, especially if you express that gratitude to others.

Consider starting your gratitude practice by taking a few moments to reflect on all that you are grateful for in your life, big and small.

Here are some examples :

  • your health and well-being
  • have enough to eat
  • the house you live in
  • your loved ones and pets

You can also express gratitude for small things, like:

  • A sunny day
  • the smell of fresh coffee
  • wear comfortable slippers on a cold morning
  • a warm smile from a stranger

You can also choose to express your gratitude directly to the people in your life who have made a real difference, such as:

  • family members
  • friends
  • colleagues
  • neighbors
  • anyone who has been a source of support for you

Think about the particular ways they have helped you, then think about how you would like to express your gratitude.

Here are 10 creative ideas for expressing gratitude, privately or to those you love and care about.

1. Write a letter

Letters of gratitude can be incredibly beneficial for the person writing them, as well as the recipient.

Writing a letter of gratitude can be a form of narrative writing, which can be effective therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a 2015 study.

Writing things down often helps the mind consolidate and process them. By putting your gratitude on the page, you can amplify the emotion for yourself.

You can try writing a letter to someone special, to yourself, or even to things you feel grateful for.

If you write a letter to let another person know how much you value them, those warm feelings of gratitude can be heightened.

Moreover, receiving a letter in the mail could be a welcome pleasure that seems special in the age of instant communication.

2. Be an active listener

With so many things demanding your attention, it’s easy to get into the habit of only half-listening to your loved ones.

Active listening means that you make a conscious effort to really hear, understand, and remember what someone is saying to you.

Making someone feel truly heard is a great way to express your gratitude to them, especially if they’ve been a good listener to you in the past.

3. Take a Mindful Walk

“Stop and smell the roses” may sound like a cliché, but there’s real truth to the value of getting outside, especially for mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature can have cognitive benefits, including:

  • improved mood and memory
  • stress reduction
  • higher levels of compassion

Try combining a nature walk with a practice of gratitude by noting a few things that bring you joy during your walk, such as:

  • hear the birdsong
  • the scent of a blooming flower
  • the way the sun stains through the trees

Focusing on and giving thanks for your physical environment can be a powerful way to ground yourself.

4. Give a thoughtful gift

Gifts aren’t always the best way to express feelings, and they certainly aren’t a substitute for honest communication.

But a truly thoughtful gift can sometimes show how much you understand and appreciate another person.

A nice gift doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, the most significant are often homemade.

When deciding what to give, think about what the person uses in their daily life or your most special memories together. A gift could also be an experience, rather than a physical object.

5. Start a gratitude journal

Expressive writing through a journal can help process negative events and emotions, but it can also help you focus on the positives in your life.

By making a habit of keeping a gratitude journal, you can develop a greater awareness of what you have, which can help you become more resilient to stress and difficulties.

There is no right or wrong way to write a gratitude journal. Some people write a simple list of things they are grateful for on a given day, while others may prefer to write a longer entry.

You might start your gratitude entrance by noticing how you feel, both in your body and in your mind. Then try to list 5-10 things you are grateful for right now.

6. Be specific

Identifying specific little things that make your life better is an important part of any gratitude practice.

It’s also a good idea to be specific when expressing your gratitude to someone else.

Rather than just saying, “I’m so grateful for all of your help,” you could talk about a specific time when they lightened a load for you or share a piece of advice they gave you that really helped you.

7. Offer to help

You can also express your gratitude through your actions. Some people may find it difficult to ask for helpC or support others instead of taking care of themselves.

So if someone has helped you in the past, consider offering help in return.

It can be logistical help, such as running errands or helping with DIY chores around the house. It can also be to offer advice on a topic you know well.

Think about your skills, then ask the person what they need.

8. Cook something you love

Cooking is a calming and meditative activity for many people. If that sounds like you, you might also consider putting your cooking skills to good use as part of your gratitude practice.

Inviting someone over for a home-cooked meal is an empowering act that can have mental health benefits for both of you. But cooking for yourself can also be a wonderful way to experience gratitude.

Think about the foods that nourish you, both physically and emotionally, and consider starting with those.

9. Try visual reminders

No matter how positive your mindset, life will always throw curve balls at you.

There will be days when it will be difficult to focus on gratitude. But visual reminders can be a helpful way to stay on track.

Visual reminders of what you’re grateful for can be just about anything, like:

  • photos of loved ones
  • a beautiful object that pleases
  • tickets to an event you liked
  • artwork drawn by your children
  • Post-its or index cards with mantras or affirmations written on them

If you’re a visual learner, this can be a particularly useful technique. Place a few visual cues around your home, car, office, or anywhere else you could use a mood boost.

10. Return the favor

In an ideal world, people treat others as they want to be treated. So if someone has been a source of support for you, chances are their behavior reflects how they want others to present themselves to them.

Think about the specific ways someone has made your life better, then ask yourself if they might need the same kind of support in return.

Then do your best to follow that same “golden rule” and pay for it.

Leave a Comment