There is a saying about how there are two ways to be happy: to have much or to require little.
We do not have as much control over what we have, but we do have more control over what we think we require. While we all have basic needs including water, food, and shelter, there are plenty of commodities that we think we need to be happy, satisfied, content, or whatever word you would like to use. Research studies have shown that the simple act of expressing gratitude can provide a robust increase in your well-being.
Society, at least in America, tends to value money and fame. Neither of these guarantee happiness, and there are plenty of examples of people who are rich, famous, and unhappy. What research studies have taught us is that there is a threshold of income at which people reach peak happiness– because further income after this threshold does not increase happiness by much. This threshold is lower than most people would expect. We will not be happy simply by having hundreds of thousands of dollars. We need to be able to live, so some money certainly brings us happiness. But ultimately, our happiness will depend more on our internal selves than on external wealth.
In addition to the help of therapy, the increase in well-being and happiness from practicing and showing gratitude can help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma. Gratitude sparks a greater quality of life and connection to self and others.
An attitude of gratitude is simple to foster. Simple does not mean easy, but this practice can certainly become easier with time. A great way to start is to take time once a week to write down three things you are grateful for. That’s it. You can use anything for writing these: your phone, a random piece of paper, a fancy notebook– it doesn’t really matter. The simple act of intentionally writing three points of gratitude will gradually build that beneficial attitude of gratitude. Our brains are constantly changing, even as adults. We can take advantage of the neuroplasticity of our brains to become closer to our ideal self.
To be more specific about the exercise, you can write down more than three things you are grateful for and you can do it more than once a week, but be intentional and sparing. Studies actually showed a larger increase in well-being when participants did the gratitude exercise once a week than every day of the week. So up to three times a week might be most beneficial. Gratitude journaling fewer times per week is more likely to become a successful habit anyway than trying to do it daily. When setting goals, go smaller and easier. As humans, we will do more of what makes us feel good. If you complete an easy goal, you’re more likely to want to do it again.
Another recommendation for the exercise is to write at least one thing about yourself that you are grateful for. This focus can gradually foster your self-esteem and confidence! What we practice will eventually become automatic for us in our day-to-day lives.
When picking things to be grateful for, anything can count. We can be grateful for oxygen to breathe, our loved ones, or material goods. We can be grateful for our kindness, working lungs, or ability to cook amazing food. I can be grateful for being alive or for getting to drink a yummy homemade peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream last night. There is no wrong way to journal. I do recommend physically writing on paper; our devices can have many associations and be overwhelming. But any practice of gratitude will be helpful.
If you are struggling with learning how to practice gratitude and understanding the benefits. Therapy can help. A therapist in the New York City area, like Brooklyn and Queens, can assist you in identifying ways in which you can express gratitude to yourself.
If you are unsure of where to start, let’s talk and see what the next steps are for you!
“So, you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game”- Betty White
Begin Working With A Black Therapist in Brooklyn, NY
Our team would be honored to support you in incorporating gratitude into your daily life. To get started, learn more about SG Counseling in New York. Our brown and black therapists are here to support you. Start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Schedule a free consultation or book a session
- Meet with a caring therapist
- Begin your mental health journey!
Other Services SG Wellness Offers:
Finding support for your mental health matters. Our therapists in NY are here for you and your needs. At our therapy practice, we have therapists who identify as black therapists, Latinx therapists, Dominican, & BIPOC. It’s our mission to offer multicultural counseling that serves you and your needs. We offer therapy for people of color, therapy for Latinx individuals, indigenous populations, and middle eastern clients, as well as therapy for men and women. If you’re looking for a safe space we are here for you.
Additionally, if you’re looking for another kind of support other than therapy for self-esteem we have more services. Other services we offer include anxiety treatment and therapy for perfectionism, depression treatment, individual therapy, therapy for young and emerging adults, individual relationship therapy. All of our services are offered via online therapy in New York. Areas we serve include Bedstuy, The Broncs, Queens, and Brooklyn, NY. When you’re ready, let’s work together.