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Gratitude Has a Direct Effect on Depression Symptoms

by stephanie reck  
11/13/2019 / Christian Living


 

November is the time for giving thanks, but what would happen if you were thankful all the time? Gratitude practiced regularly can keep you happier and healthier. Just like the antidepressant Prozac, gratitude can boost the neurotransmitter serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine, both play a role in emotional well-being.

 

Thinking about the positive aspects of your life can boost serotonin levels, but remembering sad events can decrease serotonin production. A decrease in serotonin can cause depression.

 

Intentionally looking for the things for which to be thankful for engages your frontal lobe and shifts your focus to positive emotions.

 

Many studies over the past decade have found that people who count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.

 

You can train yourself to constantly be thankful for the little things in life. The more you practice gratitude the more you will notice opportunities to be thankful.

 

Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, including envy, frustration, resentment and regret. Thinking gratefully disconnects you from toxic, negative emotions and the ruminating thoughts that often accompany them.

 

Gratitude not only reduces stress but also plays a part in overcoming trauma. Gratitude makes you more resilient to trauma and stressful events.

 

Simple ways to practice gratefulness:

  1. Write in a journal daily what you are thankful for.
  2. Make a mental gratitude list.
  3. Write a letter expressing who, what and why you are thankful.
  4. Keep your mind focused on what you have, not what you lack.

 

Gratitude is a shift perspective and it is a conscious choice. Thankfulness is seeing the glass half-full instead of half-empty.

 

Reflect and respond:

  1. What ways can you begin to be grateful?
  2. Do you need to stop complaining?
  3. Do you see the value in being grateful instead of complaining?
  4. How do you believe God views complaining?

 

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
www.stephaniereck.com
[email protected]
Hope Ministry, @2020
Author of, "Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!"

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