Gratitude is a deeply felt emotion that’s rooted in recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of life—the kindness, support, and generosity of others as well as the simple joys, pleasures, and beauty in everyday life.

In the field of psychology, scientists have made great strides toward understanding the biological impact of gratitude. When people recognize and appreciate the positive aspects of life, their body releases more of the “feel good” hormones and fewer stress hormones. “Feel good” hormones, such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, work in complex ways within the brain and body to improve physical and mental health.

Practicing gratitude has been shown to have a far-reaching impact on our physical and emotional well-being, leading to improved emotional control, better sleep, healthier relationships, and better outcomes.

Here are a few strategies you can use to harness the power of gratitude in your everyday life:

  • Be mindful of your thoughts. Negative thought patterns tend to be the default mode for many people. Check in on your thinking throughout the day. Disrupt negative thoughts patterns by tapping into the moment and finding something positive in what you see, hear, feel, taste, or smell.
  • Revisit and reframe past events. Not all experiences are positive and not all progress is straightforward. Try to reframe negative experiences by changing your perspective or finding a positive life lesson.
  • Recognize your personality traits. Some personality traits can make it difficult to acknowledge or express gratitude. Watch out for envy, self-centeredness, and feelings of entitlement. Avoid comparing yourself to others.

Practicing gratitude can be viewed as another aspect of self-care, along with eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. While these are all helpful strategies, chronic conditions such as anxiety and depression often require additional support.

Your Assistance Program is here to help with additional resources and referrals. To learn more, visit Member Support.