Benefits of Living Life with Gratitude - Premier Counseling
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Book titled Today I am Grafeful

Benefits of Living Life with Gratitude

By: Mackenzi T. Davis, LCSW

Gratitude…I really don’t know where to start. A wise woman once said “practice gratitude to honor what’s ordinary about our lives because that is what’s truly extraordinary.” If you guess that wise woman is Brené Brown, you’re right. She’s kind of my BFF in my head when she’s not calling me out via books. *Insert eye roll* Anywho, let’s talk about this for a moment. As human beings, we are beautifully cursed with not always recognizing the greatness that is us. What I love about this quote is that it reminds us that we are enough, and we are amazing human beings. Despite our race, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. When you reflect on your life and not just the negative things or the stress society places on you, there is space to see extraordinary you are. It can be hard to do find gratitude, but the act of finding these gracious moments, no matter how small, is beautiful.

How a Little Gratitude Leads to a Lot More Gratitude

I was reading an article not too long ago and it talked about the benefits of gratitude in the face of anxiety and grief. I won’t touch too much on the grief piece because we don’t have that kind of characters today…another time 😊. I’m reading this book by Alex Korb titled “The Upward Spiral.” It focuses on using neuroscience to reverse depression and gives little tricks to do so. Sound super cool, huh?!? Ok, so I haven’t finished the book, but what I’ve gathered is, our brains are wired to do the same thing over and over again. Take that, add in the nuisance of negative thoughts, and BAM! See where I’m going with this?! I hope so. When we intentionally find moments of gratitude and add positive thinking to our day, we are disrupting that cycle of negativity. In theory, if you do this enough, it becomes part of your daily practice.

Striking a Balance Between Negativity & Positivity

That does not go to say that you will start to ignore those negative thoughts or feelings entirely. Negative thoughts may be important, and they often serve a purpose like protecting you from danger. However, adding in a little more gratitude allows you to feel negativity more safely while not spiraling into the pit of despair. That was extreme, I know…no take backs. Believe it or not, we are all so complex and wonderful that we can feel multiple emotions at one time. This allows you to have more space for meaningful reframes and positive thoughts in your life. It allows for more self-compassion. Living a life of gratitude is not an easy thing to do. It’s a habit and like most habits, you have to be intentional and build it up. However, once you get there, if you stray it is easy to come back to it.

Making Intentional Gratitude an Important Part of Your Holidays

As you continue through the holiday season and into the new year, think about how you can be more intentional about living a life of gratitude. Most importantly, spend some time reflecting on what that looks like for you because it looks different for everyone. I’m so thankful that I continue to learn about gratitude and what it means to live a grateful lifestyle. The more I learn about gratitude and put it into practice, the deeper it gets. It’s more than the physical and tangible things. It’s finding those moments of gratitude as it relates to yourself, the type of person you want to be, and the type of relationships that you want to have. It’s how you continue to maneuver through the difficult parts of life that are inevitable. It’s equipping yourself with an extra layer of resilience.

Visit Central Arkansas Group Counseling

We can all use a little extra support making a change to living a life of gratitude. If you want to get started working with Central Arkansas Group Counseling, don’t hesitate to call or email me or one of our other skilled clinicians. We’re here to help individuals, couples, and families in Benton and North Little Rock lead their healthiest lives.

Photo by Freshh Connection on Unsplash