How It Can Improve Mental Health


Jotting everything you’re thankful for into a gratitude journal is more than a feel-good exercise. Research has shown that practicing gratitude has profound effects on our mental health. Studies have linked gratitude to decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety, improved sleep quality, and increased happiness and life satisfaction.

But what are the mental health benefits of practicing gratitude? One theory is that focusing on what we appreciate can shift our attention away from negative thoughts and emotions, leading to a more positive mindset. Additionally, expressing gratitude can improve social connections and foster empathy and compassion toward others.


In this blog post, we will discuss what exactly gratitude is, go through some of the many health benefits of practicing gratitude, and provide a detailed explanation of how it can positively impact our mental health.

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude means expressing appreciation for the meaningful or valuable things in your life. Taking a moment to acknowledge and notice what you’re grateful for can brighten your perspective, elevate your mood, and cultivate positivity even amidst challenges.

While it’s common to feel exhilarated by big wins like winning the lottery or getting a promotion, gratitude is about cherishing little blessings that often go unnoticed or unappreciated. Even fleeting moments like a friendly chat with someone, a kind gesture from a stranger, enjoying a cool breeze, or taking a peaceful walk in nature are all things to be grateful for.

Mental Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude can be developed like a muscle. With the right exercises and consistent practice, you can uncover even the tiniest things to be grateful for on even the most dismal days. While the notion may seem cliché, research has shown some significant benefits of gratitude on mental health. Some of them are as follows:

1. Gratitude Can Help You Control Emotions

Practicing gratitude has numerous health benefits, including the ability to identify and regulate emotions. Studies have pointed to a possible relationship between appreciation and emotional intelligence, demonstrating that those who express gratitude are better equipped to manage their emotions in challenging situations. 

According to Dr. Moye, a renowned psychologist, adopting a gratitude mindset can help us regulate our emotions and achieve emotional freedom. By directing our attention toward the good things in our lives, we create a sense of serenity and contentment, making us more resilient in the face of challenges. So, whether counting our blessings, expressing gratitude towards others, or keeping a gratitude journal, incorporating this practice into our daily lives can significantly impact our overall well-being.

2. Gratitude Can Make You More Optimistic

Expressing gratitude regularly can profoundly impact your overall outlook on life. When we take a little break and are grateful for the positive things in our lives, we tend to have a more optimistic outlook on our experiences, which can help us to overcome challenges more easily. People who practice gratitude are seen to have a more positive outlook on life than those who don’t. 

By practicing gratitude, individuals can improve their mental and emotional health, ultimately leading to a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Practicing gratitude is ideal if you want to cultivate a more optimistic outlook. This could be as easy and simple as taking a few moments every day to reflect on everything you are grateful for or keeping a gratitude journal to record the things that make you happy. 

3. Gratitude Can Help You Improve your Focus

Improved focus is another significant mental health benefit of practicing gratitude. When you start practicing gratitude, you tend to view your daily tasks more positively. Whether it is schoolwork or job responsibilities, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed or stressed about them. This, in turn, can help you conserve your energy and focus better. 

Furthermore, gratitude can help you develop emotional resiliency, essential for good mental health. You can approach challenges more optimistically by viewing them as opportunities, which can help you overcome obstacles and bounce back from setbacks more quickly. All in all, the benefits of gratitude on mental health are manifold, and it’s a simple yet powerful way to improve your focus.


4. Gratitude Can Make You Feel More Connected to Others

Practicing gratitude is also said to impact our social connections and benefit our emotional well-being significantly. Dr. Brandon suggests that gratitude can help individuals feel more connected to others and the world around them, which can lead to a decrease in loneliness and an increase in happiness. This is backed by recent studies that have found that gratitude can promote emotional closeness and strengthen intimate and non-intimate relationships.

But the mental health benefits of practicing gratitude don’t stop there. Studies suggest that expressing gratitude can help reduce feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness. By strengthening social bonds and fostering a sense of community, appreciation can make individuals feel more connected to others, improving overall well-being and happiness.

5. Gratitude Can Help You Improve Your Self-Esteem

Viewing the world with a strong sense of gratitude can profoundly impact how you think about your worth. When you take a few moments to be grateful for all the positive things in your life, you are more likely to feel a sense of fulfillment and contentment. This can lead to higher self-esteem and greater confidence in yourself and your abilities. 

Imagine if a friend treats you to lunch. As you express your gratitude and appreciation, you realize your friend values you enough to spend time and resources on you. This thoughtful gesture can help you internalize the belief that you are essential to others, boosting your self-worth. 

By adopting a mindset of gratitude and appreciation, you can start to see the world more positively. This can have a cascading effect on your thoughts and actions, leading to a more fulfilling and rewarding life. 

The Bottom Line

Gratitude is one of those topics that has been highlighted a lot lately, and for all the right reasons. As the saying goes, an “attitude of gratitude” reminds us to develop an appreciation for everything we have in our lives – and practice it regularly. When we consciously practice gratitude, we begin to notice the many blessings that surround us, no matter how big or small they may be.