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The Importance of Practicing Gratitude

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During difficult times it can be hard to be positive, and even more challenging to show gratitude. However, practicing gratitude can help to ease the numbness of emotions, and alter the perception of life, allowing you to find joy and happiness.

What are the benefits of practicing gratitude?

When we give thanks, we are actively opening our hearts and minds to give, receive, and respond graciously. Allowing ourselves to find something positive during times of difficulty empowers us to embrace our lives, our relationships, and appreciate all that we have. Gratitude allows us to send positive energy which promotes a good attitude and a healthy mind.

  • Physical: Studies show that people who practice gratitude regularly see positive physical benefits such as increased blood flow to the area of the brain controlling eating, drinking, sleep, metabolism, and stress levels. The positive stimulation also increases the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that produces the “feel good” sensation.
  • Mental: An attitude of gratitude can benefit our psychological health and can result in an increase in happiness and a reduction in depression. With our minds so often focused on negative thoughts, fears, and worries, we can benefit by replacing even a few of those with a grateful thought. Additionally, gratitude can help us to feel better about strengths, talents, and abilities and improve our self-esteem.
  • Social: Gratitude provides the opportunity to strengthen and improve current relationships, as well as open the door to connect and meet new people. Maintaining and forming relationships can be difficult for someone with an eating disorder, anxiety, or depression, as negative self-talk can interfere and cause a withdrawal from others. Expressing and sharing gratitude can be a way to get around some of those negative thoughts and connect with others.

How do you practice gratitude?

Gratitude is more than just being thankful for someone or something. It is an intentional and conscious perspective; a state of mind and a change in the way we see things. Practice these exercises for conscious cultivation of gratitude that can help the body and mind thrive.

  • Find opportunities:So often challenges are viewed as negative, but if we view them as an opportunity to learn, we can engage ourselves in the process of gratitude. Having a positive mindset can ultimately set us free from negativity.
  • Focus on what you do have.  Today, more than ever, we are spending more time on social media, and in front of a screen, which opens the door to comparison. By being intentional and noticing our surroundings, we can become more aware of those small things that we may have previously taken for granted.
  • Each day write down something you are grateful for and let it be a tool to transform a day that you might struggle with. Reflect on the simple everyday pleasures and what you have in your life for which you are grateful.  When you are feeling anxious or stressed, read your words, and be thankful.
  • Mindfulness: By practicing daily meditation, breathing, and relaxation, we can focus on loving ourselves for exactly as who we are. By “breathing in loving kindness, I can release negativity and resentment.”
  • Focusing on positive affirmations: Eating Disorders tend to elicit low self-esteem and negativity towards ourselves and others. By intentionally practicing gratitude, we can transform the way in which we perceive ourselves and ultimately, change our outlook on life.

Intentionally practicing gratitude can ultimately become a way of life to help overcome the numbness associated with suffering from an Eating Disorder. Here at Toledo Center, we are grateful that we can help our clients identify and address the negative thoughts and emotions that contribute to all types of Eating Disorders. We utilize individualized evidence-based therapies that contribute to the overall health and wellness of our clients. For more information regarding our program, please contact our admissions department, or complete our contact form.

Check out our Toledo Center team and find out what they are grateful for in this short video.

 

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