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Gratitude is recognizing the good in our lives and being thankful for those positive experiences. It turns out that the ability to acknowledge the good in our lives and to express gratitude for the people, places and things that bring us joy can protect us from the negative symptoms of depression. For some people this comes more naturally than for others. Some of us may be so focused on preventing hurt, sadness and pain that we hyper-vigilantly look for the potential problems before they even exist. This focus on what is going wrong or may go wrong blinds us to what is going well or has the potential to go well. Psychologists often call this a “negative filter” and label it an unhealthy thinking style.
Do not worry if you relate to the negative filter thinking style, there is hope! That hope is called gratitude. Focusing on recognizing and expressing gratitude simply turns our mind from what is troubling us to what brings us joy. Below are a few suggestions on how to recognize and show gratitude more often in our lives.
Although expressing gratitude can have a positive effect on people and the world in general, the real winner is you! Recognizing and expressing gratitude positively feeds our mental health.