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How to Incorporate Gratitude in Daily Life
Having a challenging day? Try a little gratitude. Mary Kate Lee, program coordinator at the Lerner Center for Health Promotion, based in the Maxwell School, offers some ways to show your gratefulness—with the benefits of increasing your mental and physical well-being.
Lee wrote a recent brief on “Gratitude as an Antidote to Anxiety and Depression: All the Benefits, None of the Side Effects.” In it, she discusses the growing evidence that thinking about what you are grateful for in life might help battle anxiety and depression, without the side effects of medication.
Individuals who try showing gratitude have been shown to have increased happiness, life satisfaction, positive mood, meaning in life and quality of sleep, she notes.
She also writes, “People are more likely to be generous, kind, and helpful when they are grateful. This can strengthen relationships and improve workplace environments.”
Lee gives some examples of how to incorporate gratefulness in your daily life:
- Gratitude Journal: Reflect on and write down three to five things for which you are grateful two to four times a week.
- Three Good Things: Similar to the gratitude journal, reflect on and write down three things you are grateful for and/or three things that went well. You should also include the reasons behind those three good things. Do this two to four times a week.
- Mental Subtraction (Writing Optional): Imagine what your life would be like if a positive event had not happened.
- Gratitude Letter: Write a letter to someone to whom you are grateful but have never explicitly told. Reading the letter out loud to the person or having them read it will help strengthen your relationship with them.
For more information, read Lee’s brief on gratitude.
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