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Attitude of Gratitude

HEFT Wellbeing Zone

What are you grateful for today?

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place 13-19 May inspiring people to promote the message of good mental health for all. One way to improve our mental health is to cultivate feelings of gratitude and appreciation… An “attitude of gratitude” is a regular habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, no matter how small. When we think about all we have to be grateful for, it can boost our happiness, decrease depression and increase our overall sense of wellbeing. Focusing on the things in our lives that we should appreciate helps to reduce stress and remove feelings of negativity. Take a look at these tips to help you cultivate a grateful mindset:

Three things - think of three things you are grateful for each day. You might choose something that is a constant in your life, something specific to that day, or something simple like a beautiful sunrise.

Be grateful for yourself - take time to think about all the things you have accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Once you can appreciate yourself, your ability to see things more positively will grow.

Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring, helping and/or supporting you.

Start a gratitude journal - express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about. When you’re feeling down or stressed, go back and read through your previous entries and focus on the blessings you have. Studies have linked gratitude to improved mental health, better physical health, improved sleep and better relationships. When we look at life with a feeling of gratitude rather than disappointment, we find ourselves happier and more at peace.

Be grateful

Thinking about all the things you have in life can increase happiness, reduce anxiety and depression, improve physical health, enhance sleep and strengthen relationships. To help you cultivate a growing sense of appreciation, use a gratitude journal. Write down three positive things that have happened to you today and acknowledge those who have helped you. You’ll become better at recognising the good in your life and feel more thankful. Boost your wellbeing and feel more fulfilled each day

The importance of social connections

Why relationships matter

There is growing evidence that the strength of an individual’s social connections can be a powerful influence on both our short-term health and our overall life expectancy. Find out why being connected to others is important for our physical health and psychological wellbeing. Developmental Psychologist Susan Pinker’s book ‘The Village Effect’ sets out the case that positive social interaction is a more significant factor than diet, exercise, smoking or alcohol consumption in predicting long life. Her study found that the two biggest predictors of longevity were the number of close relationships an individual had and their level of “social integration” - meaning how much time they spent interacting with others in their community on a day-to-day basis. It’s not just about living an extra 10 or 15 years though, there is also evidence that social connection can also help us...

Maintain a healthy immune system and recover from disease faster. One study found that women with large networks of friends were up to FOUR TIMES more likely to survive breast cancer than those with few social connections.

Lower the likelihood of suffering from depression and anxiety – a point obvious to anyone who has experienced lonely periods in their life.

Increase self-esteem. Forming and maintaining social connections can establish a positive feedback loop in which we become more cheerful and chatty, which further assists us in strengthening our friend network. Start with efforts to re-build any particularly valued friendships which may have fallen by the wayside over the years and nurture the most important relationships in your life. For your more casual friends, try to make time to help, support and understand the people around you - and you may well find they’ll return the favour.


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