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Gratitude Practice as a Tool for Depression

If you search online for ways to deal with depression, one of the things you’ll find highly recommended is starting a gratitude practice. In our daily lives, we tend to take things for granted, the blessings of our families and friends, having a roof over our heads, having enough to eat. Depression can be exacerbated by focusing on everything that is going wrong in our lives, rather than all the things that are going right. Gratitude can help change some of the mental thought patterns that contribute to depression such as a scarcity mindset rather than an abundance mindset- feeling like you never have enough can be transformed into being grateful for everything you have. You have eyesight to read these words, you are able to read, you have a mind working to process and understand. You can choose to be grateful for anything and everything. With gratitude, painful experiences become lessons learned, challenges become opportunities for growth and empowerment.

When you first wake up, when you go to sleep, and/or throughout the day, try listing some of the things you feel grateful for. If you’re depressed or anxious, this might be really hard to do, but try. Maybe the sun is shining, and even if you’re feeling too depressed to go outside, even saying the words “I am grateful for sunshine” might spark the motivation to put your face in the sun, even for just a few minutes. Any steps you can take will help, and gratitude can often be the catalyst. If you woke up in a comfortable bed with pillows and blankets, or got enough sleep, or are waking up in order to get to work, be thankful for anything and everything- the bed, the pillows, the sheets, the blankets, the job you have that allows you to pay for the things you need, the family you’re supporting by going to that job, the love you feel for your family. Be grateful you got to eat today. Be grateful you made it home safe. Be grateful there are people out there who care about you and want you to be happy.

Positive thinking isn’t always easy, especially when we’re depressed and giving up hope, but try, and keep trying. The more you practice looking for things you’re grateful for, the more your mind will naturally direct itself to find more things to be grateful for. Gratitude helps program our minds to start seeing the good in things automatically. Having the energy of gratitude opens you up to receiving even more blessings. When we are feeling down and defeated, simply saying “Thank You” for the blessings we have can transform our energy and help lift us out of depression.

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