Improve Your Mood by Being Grateful

Improve your mood by implementing small cognitive and behavioral changes into your daily life.  Research shows that improved mood and positive emotions are associated with greater creativity, increased problem-solving ability, and greater overall success in life.

One way to improve your mood with lasting results includes practicing your gratitude.  Research indicates that practicing gratitude as little as once a week makes a difference.  People who take the time to write down 5 things they are grateful for each week, for 10 weeks, are 25% happier than a people who merely list 5 life events from the week (Emmons and McCullough, 2003).

With as little as 2 MINUTES per week you can use CBT techniques to improve your outlook on life.  The exercise is simple!

Make a list (or think) of three things that you are grateful for: people, places, and things that benefit you and without which your life would be less satisfying.
Next, if you have time, you can think about what is responsible for the things that you are grateful for.
Those with a busy schedule will be happy to know that doing this exercise once a week was found to be more effective than doing it once per week (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005).

Sometimes it may be difficult to find things that you are grateful for.  On those days it is necessary to help our thoughts be more positive.  General ideas of gratitude may include:

I am thankful for the sunshine.
I am thankful I have my family.
I am thankful that I had a safe drive to work.
I am thankful that I had a good night’s rest.
As you become comfortable with this exercise you can notice how it may feel different depending on the day of the week, the weather, and your schedule.  Part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to identify how these different factors impact our thinking and behavior.  Through this simple gratitude exercise you can be empowered to improve your mood!

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