I have never been a fan of people saying ‘look on the bright side’ or ‘be positive’. I find it belittles my situation and feelings. So, when I first heard of practicing gratitude to benefit my mental wellbeing I didn’t want to know. I thought it was another way for people to blame my problems on my mentality.
I got to a point where my mental health had been poor for a long time, I was being let down by services repeatedly and I realised that I had to take things into my own hands.
I joined a volunteering project for young people with experience of mental health difficulties which, in itself, was very rewarding. In one of the sessions, we discussed gratitude and someone shared that at the end of each day they would name 3 things they are grateful for.
Admittedly at first, I thought ‘how silly’, but I had made a promise to myself to try anything that might help me.
Believe it or not, it did help! Okay, it didn’t solve all of my problems (and it wasn’t a miracle) but when you’ve had a rubbish day, simply reminding yourself of small things that you’re truly grateful for can give you that boost to keep going. It really only works when you choose things that mean something to you personally. Additionally, don’t use it as a way to criticise yourself like ‘I have a roof over my head so I should be happy’. Instead, say to yourself ‘it was really nice that my housemate made me that cup of tea for me this morning’.
Practicing skills such as gratitude has really added up for me and overall improved my mental wellbeing, so I’d really encourage anyone to give it a try!