Cultivating Gratitude: A Path to Positive Well-Being
Do you ever feel like life is passing you by? It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and sometimes it can feel like you’re just going through the motions. If you’re looking for a way to add more positivity to your life, cultivating gratitude may be just the thing you need.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful psychological tools for cultivating well-being. It is the recognition of the good that exists in our lives and in the world around us – the appreciation of simple pleasures, the recognition of gifts of any kind, and the awareness of the blessings of life. Research has found that gratitude is associated with a host of psychological benefits, including increased life satisfaction, improved relationships, enhanced resilience, and even physical health benefits, (Sansone & Sansone, 2010).
One of the primary benefits of gratitude is that it allows us to live in the present moment. Gratitude shifts our focus away from what we lack and instead encourages us to appreciate and savor the here and now. This shift in focus can have an immensely positive effect on our psychological well-being. Research has found that those who practice gratitude are more likely to experience greater life satisfaction, increased positive emotions, and improved resilience in the face of stressors, (Emmons & Crumpler, 2000).
Gratitude also has powerful effects on our relationships. Those who express gratitude to others tend to have more successful and satisfying social relationships. Likewise, research has found that gratitude is associated with greater relationship satisfaction, increased trust, and even improved physical health – indicating that expressing gratitude may be an effective way to strengthen and protect our relationships.
Gratitude has been found to have positive physical health benefits. Studies have found that those who regularly practice gratitude have lower levels of stress hormones, improved immune responses, and even lower levels of inflammation – all of which can have a positive impact on our overall physical health, (Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013).
So, how do you go about cultivating gratitude on a daily basis?
- Keep a gratitude journal: Every day, write down three things that you are grateful for. It can be something as simple as a cup of coffee, a beautiful sunset, or the way someone made you laugh. Focusing on the good in your life can help you appreciate it more.
- Practice gratitude by expressing it to others: Take the time to thank people for the help they give you, or simply let them know how much you appreciate them. Doing this will help you build stronger relationships and feel more connected to those around you.
- Focus on the present moment: When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a few moments to pause and appreciate the beauty around you. Whether it’s the smell of the fresh air or the sound of birds chirping, remind yourself to be thankful for the small things.
Cultivating gratitude on a daily basis can help you to feel more positive and fulfilled. By keeping a gratitude journal, expressing your appreciation to others, and taking the time to appreciate the present moment, you’ll be able to bring more joy to your life. So why not give it a try? You could be surprised by the results.
Overall, gratitude is an incredibly powerful psychological tool for cultivating well-being. It encourages us to live in the present moment, strengthening our relationships, and improving our physical health. By taking time each day to express gratitude and to appreciate the good in our lives, we develop a better awareness to all the blessings that surround us.
Written by Angela Gray Salyers, MA, MS, LPC
Pine Grove Business Development Coordinator
About Angela Gray Salyers, Business Development Coordinator
Angela Gray Salyers is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi and Alabama and she earned an International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium as an Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She works as a Business Development Coordinator with Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she conducts clinical assessments for all of the organization’s service lines. Additionally, Ms. Salyers educates professionals from throughout the country about Pine Grove’s nationally recognized and respected treatment programs. Prior to working in Business Development, she worked with Pine Grove as an Outreach Coordinator within Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast regions from 2017-2019. Ms. Salyers earned her undergraduate degree in Dance Education and Paralegal Studies from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. She earned her Master’s degree in General Psychology from Pace University, New York, NY, and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of West Alabama in Livingston, AL. Ms. Gray is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500) with Yoga Alliance and currently teaches in Fairhope, AL. She has professional experience working with the HIV/AIDS population in a Ryan White Clinic, where she provided psychosocial evaluations, counseling, and case management services. Ms. Salyers also worked as a Residential Coordinator, caring for patients with chemical dependency at a residential addiction treatment center in Spanish Fort, AL. She is a member of the Alabama Counseling Association, Alabama Alcohol and Drug Association, Faces and Voices of Recovery, and serves on the Steering Committee for The Gulf Coast Conference.
About Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services
Located in Hattiesburg, MS., Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services is one of the nation’s most comprehensive treatment campuses. Pine Grove’s world renowned programs treat gender specific chemical addiction including specialized tracks for co-occurring eating disorders, compulsive behaviors, trauma, and mental health. Additionally, Pine Grove offers an Intensive Outpatient substance abuse healing program for adults and a separate treatment track for those age 55 plus. Other Pine Grove specialty programs include a dedicated professional’s treatment curriculum and a comprehensive evaluation center. Pine Grove also features a program for patients with sexual addiction. Inpatient Services including an Adult Psychiatric Unit, along with a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit, and Outpatient Services are other components. Pine Grove is a division of Forrest Health, a partnership of healthcare organizations across South Mississippi, and the behavioral healthcare extension of Forrest General Hospital. Established in 1984, Pine Grove has provided nationally and internationally recognized health care for 39 years. For more information about Pine Grove, please visit http://www.pinegrovetreatment.com and call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673).
Emmons, R. A., & Crumpler, C. A. (2000). Gratitude as a human strength: Appraising the evidence. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19 (1), 56-69.
Lyubomirsky, S., & Layous, K. (2013). How do simple positive activities increase well-being? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22 (1), 57-62.
Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: The benefits of appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 7 (11), 18-22.