Not only during the holiday season, but all year long, we keep being told to be grateful. But did you ever wonder why gratitude is so important?
According to Emma Giordano, MHC-LP, of Empower Your Mind Therapy in New York City, gratitude helps us physically and mentally. “Gratitude can lower your blood pressure and increase happiness, improve interpersonal relationships, and build self-confidence,” she says. “Gratitude also helps you adjust your mindset from one of lacking to one of abundance and thankfulness.”
Sometimes it seems easy to be thankful or grateful around the holidays. But there are reasons to enact this practice all year long. “Gratitude helps practice empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. This skill is important all year long to be able to care for others and show up for them the way they might need us,” says Giordano.
“Be sure to check in with yourself all year long and make sure you are grateful for the positive things in your life. Often times, especially with health, we don’t realize what we have until we see someone else without it. It’s also important to remind yourself to think about the positives in life regularly, because people tend to get caught up in the negative and what ‘needs to change’ to become happier. Those ‘needs’ are probably not important in the grand scheme, and are usually influenced by seeing what others might have.”
If you’re not sure how to practice gratitude, Giordano has some tips:
- Keep a gratitude journal or notes in your phone of things you’re grateful for each day
- Photo journal – taking photos of things you’re grateful for to scroll through any time
- Meditation scripts and podcasts are also helpful for quick moments of reflection
“When we talk about the power of gratitude, we can’t overlook its connection with other important aspects of psychological self-care like empathy, recognition, connection, integrity,” she says. “Start by taking a moment to give yourself gratitude for all you do and how hard you work.”