Mayo Clinic article about the mental, and physical, health benefits of gratitude

The March 2015 issue of the Mayo Clinic Healthletter includes an article about the mental and physical health benefits of gratitude,”Fostering Thankfulness – And imroving well-being.”

This article references an emerging body of research that is finding distinct benefits of an “attitude of gratitude (info about the actual research studies is not provided).  The benefits include:

  • lower risk of mental health disorders;
  • greater happiness;
  • increased sense of fulfillment;
  • positive relationships, and;
  • better sleep.

Obviously, many of these benefits would be helpful for people requiring mental health treatment, or for people who are not in treatment but just want to feel and do better.

The article recommends “some simple steps that you can take to cultivate a more grateful approach”’

  • start your day with gratitude;
  • be thankful for simple things;
  • look for the positive in the negative;
  • acknowledge your riches;
  • say “thank you”, and;
  • keep a gratitude journal.

Obviously, some of these steps may be challenging, especially for people who are strugging with mental health symptoms.  For those who can implement these steps on their own – and this is likely to be a life-long challenge- this can be part of their own self-directed wellness program.  For those in mental health treatment, the therapist could do a “gratitude assessment” and offer help with gratitude skills and resources as part of a comprehensive, wellness-oriented treatment plan.

There’s an app for that!

As is often the case these days, there is a category of smartphone apps for gratitude activities.  A quick review of the IOS options finds gratitude-related apps for daily gratitude meditation, gratitude journaling, and other gratitude-promoting activities.  

The original article fleshes out the details bit, and is available at:

http://healthletter.mayoclinic.com/index.cfm

It does, however, require a subscription to read the whole article.

 

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