What is the Power of Gratitude? How It Changes Your Mindset

What is the Power of Gratitude? How It Changes Your Mindset

When times are tough, it can be hard to focus on what’s going right. On the other hand, even when you’re not facing any major challenges, it’s easy to feel like your life doesn’t measure up to the lives of others around you. You might get stuck in a trap of comparing yourself to others, leaving you unable to see all the positive aspects of your own life. People commonly overlook the good in their own lives because it seems like the grass is always greener on the other side.

Gratitude is the key to improving your quality of life, even if your circumstances stay the same. Here’s why gratitude is such a powerful tool for boosting your mental health and cultivating a happier outlook on a daily basis.

It Releases Dopamine

Did you know that thinking about everything you’re grateful for actually releases dopamine in your brain? That’s right, reflecting on all the things you have to appreciate sparks the release of this neurotransmitter, which helps you feel happier.

Practicing gratitude is the trick to getting dopamine flowing through your system. Even when you’re having a rough day, gratitude can shift your outlook!

Let Go of Negative Emotions

Staying grateful for the good in life even during difficult times does not mean that you’re simply dismissing complicated emotions or shoving your problems under the rug.

Rather, practicing gratitude helps you let go of these negative emotions naturally. When you look at the big picture of your life, you may notice that things are not as bad as they seem. This allows you to acknowledge that your positive and negative emotions can exist side by side.

Focus on Present

Gratitude is an exceptionally effective method for shifting your focus to the present. Why do negative emotions take root? Often, it’s because we’re ruminating on things that have gone wrong in the past. Sometimes, it’s because we’re worrying about things that might go wrong in the future!

Yet when you’re thinking about the present, these anxieties begin to melt away. You’re able to hone in on what really matters: the moment you’re experiencing now. You can’t change the past or predict the future, but gratitude allows you to make the most of the current moment.

Savor Joy

All too often, our worries get in the way of experiencing real joy. Even when you wish you could acknowledge something good happening, or fully embrace a joyful moment, worrying and rumination can get in the way, like the clouds blocking out the sun.

Gratitude allows you to truly savor joy. In our busy, chaotic lives, it can sometimes feel like moments of joy just slip by. By practicing gratitude, you can genuinely savor joyful times. Recognizing that life brings ups and downs, and that it’s up to you to embrace joy, can be very empowering.

Pay Attention

At its core, gratitude is all about paying attention. Being grateful means paying attention to the good that is present in your life, without trying to dismiss the bad. What you pay attention to can color your entire worldview.

When you only focus on the negative, it can start to feel like the entire world is going in the wrong direction. However, when you make room for both the negative and positive, you begin to acknowledge nuances and shades of gray. Chances are, you’ll realize that there is plenty of good in the world, you just need to look for it.

Do you want to focus on practicing gratitude in your daily life? Therapy can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.

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