Gratitude is a simple, yet powerful technique that can be used anytime or anywhere. Research has shown that gratitude can improve your physical and psychological health. It can also help overcome trauma and is a major factor in building resilience. A study of Vietnam veterans in 2006 found those with increased levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of PTSD. Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, clearly exhibits how gratitude helped him to stay resilient and focused on the good, even in the most horrific situation.
So, how can you cultivate gratitude in your own life? Begin by setting aside time a few minutes every day. Sit quietly and reflect. You can write a story or write a list of three to five things you are thankful for. Viktor Frankl, wrote a fantasy book called “Man’s Search for Meaning,” about hope and love to cultivate his own gratitude. Robert Emmons, a gratitude expert, encourages you to “go deep.” Really reflect on why you are grateful for something or someone; go into detail. Next, try to list people you are grateful for rather than materialistic things. How has this person impacted your life? What qualities do they posses that are uplifting? Finally, see or visit the people and things you are grateful for as a true gift. Delight and really take the time to cherish each item on your list.
Some experts find doing your gratitude list before bed can help with sleep. Others say to make time a priority in the morning to set yourself up for a great day. Find what works best for you and your schedule.
The more you practice cultivating gratitude, the more you will find yourself looking for the good in your life. This process can literally change how you see events and help reframe difficult situations by infusing thankfulness into them. It also builds resilience, making it easier for you to handle anything that comes your way.
Terri Kutchera is a Patient Consultant for Ketamine Wellness Centers