Gratitude: the quality of being grateful; expressing thanks.
I recently read several articles that put forward the idea that paying attention to gratitude can have a positive impact on your wellbeing, specifically your mental health, and this is something I’m interested in looking into further. I think it’s easy to disregard ‘invisible’ practices, such as meditation, gratitude, and positive thinking, as pseudoscience or ineffective. Many people assume that as the impacts of these wellbeing activities cannot be measured quantitatively, or actively seen, such as exercise on someone’s physical health, they leave less of an imprint.
This fundamental idea that invisibility equals non-existence is one of the hardest battles people suffering from mental illness face regularly; and one which I think is also relevant to mental wellbeing practices. Perhaps if these activities, such as keeping a gratitude journal or taking part in daily meditation, were given more weight in society, they’d have the ability to help more people. Almost like an ‘invisible’ antidote for these ‘invisible’ illnesses.
I’m not saying this is some miracle cure for everyone, like it’s that easy to overcome these issues, or that I’m the only person speaking up about this. There are many bloggers, apps, websites and books out there with various ideas about how to implement these healthy mind choices into your current lifestyle.
The point of this post is to acknowledge that mental distress is real, and that mental wellbeing practices can be of great help to many people. This is something I’ve only recently seriously thought about initiating in my own life, but I think it will be something I’m going to explore, and potentially document on this blog, in 2018.
For now, I thought I’d write a list of what I’m grateful for in 2017:
- A stable home, a loving family, a supportive boyfriend and all the necessities (and much more) to have a comfortable lifestyle
- My body, and the bodies of those I care about, being relatively healthy
- The chance to spend a month exploring India with my mum
- The chance to see some of my far-flung friends (from America and Sweden)
- A friend who helped me to get a job that has allowed me to save up money
- A new appreciation for my hometown after spending so long away from it – I love having both the sea and the countryside on my doorstep
- Friends dotted all around the world who are willing to put in the effort to stay in contact, and the technology that facilitates this
- The ability to push myself out of my introverted comfort zone (sometimes)
- The decision to study Sociology
- A greater awareness of my strengths and limitations
- The support from others and self-confidence to overcome the ending of a long-term friendship
- The success of getting a new job that starts in the new year
- Finally having the courage, creativity and self-belief to start this blog and all the support I’ve received from the blogging community
- My new mattress that arrived yesterday as an early Christmas present from my parents – no more springs digging into my back!
There are so many more things I could add to this list, but I’ll stop it here for fear of being boring. After all, the aim of gratitude exercises isn’t to write a complete and finished list of everything you’re grateful for, but more to exercise your appreciation muscle; to practise reflection and positivity. This is definitely something I would like to make time for in 2018.
Want to read more Blogmas posts? Scroll to the bottom of Day One for the full list.