Mental health concerns are at an all time high during this pandemic. As health care providers for over 18 years in this community, we are receiving record numbers of crisis contacts from patients and their families, due to the increased stress and strain in their lives.
The Impact of Gratitude
The world of mental health has never been more challenged than it is right now. In an effort to offer people a time efficient, cost effective and applicable strategy, the University of Berkley California conducted a study on gratitude.
Here’s what they found:
“We randomly assigned our study participants into three groups. Although all three groups received counseling services, the first group was also instructed to write one letter of gratitude to another person each week for three weeks, whereas the second group was asked to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about negative experiences. The third group did not do any writing activity. What did we find? Compared with the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counseling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health 4 weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.”
We have always heard that it’s important to give thanks and to see the good, more than the bad. However, most Canadians struggle with this. One explanation is the negative impact of the media on people’s mental health. This includes negative television news broadcasts, social media feed’s and newspapers. All of these use negative, fear based reporting strategies. The science shows that people are seven times more likely to act out of fear than out of hope.
We know that the happiest people are not living their lives with a negative news feed playing on repeat. They are the ones who are socially well connected, living with a strong value system and consistently choose to make their day great.
We now know that writing out your gratitude is a game changer too.
Dr Matt, Dr B and the NLC team.