Benefits of Gratitude

Quiz: test your gratitude, then improve your health

As you map out your new year’s resolutions, including gratitude can make all the difference. Looking towards all the things you’d like to change, it can feel difficult to focus on feeling thankful for what you already have – especially on the road to recovery. However, cultivating gratitude with intention can have a revolutionary effect on mental, physical, and emotional health, and can help you capture those elusive resolutions.

Do not confuse gratitude for complacency or lack of motivation, gratitude is defined as recognizing the positive outcomes in one’s life. Use these to push you forward towards more positive outcomes.

Practicing can reduce envy, resentment, frustration, regret, depression, and can effectively increase happiness (Psychology Today). Even shifting your mindset from frustration to appreciation can regulate your heart rate (Tiller, et al, 1996).

Test your gratitude with this quiz developed by psychologists from SMU and UC Davis.

Agree or Disagree:

  1. I have so much in life to be thankful for
  2. If I had to list everything I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list
  3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be thankful for
  4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people
  5. As I get older, I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history
  6. Long amounts of time go by before I feel grateful to something or someone

(McCollough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002)

Analyze your responses, if you strongly agree with 1, 2, 4, and 5, and disagree with 3 and 6, you’re on track. If your answers fluctuate, consider adding a gratitude exercise to your resolutions.

Each day, write down something you are grateful for. Start a gratitude journal, it can be as extensive as you choose – it can even be as simple as using a wall calendar and writing one word each day. Include everything from aspects of your health to new shoes to new opportunities.

After 10 weeks of documenting daily gratitude, people felt more optimistic and better about their lives (Harvard Health). And another study found that people doing a gratitude exercise worked harder towards their goals and made 20% more progress than those who did not.

This can be a powerful tool in everyday life and addiction recovery. Being thankful for what you have now can help you achieve what you want in the future.

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