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Gratitude And The Impact On Mental Health

The holiday time of year can be very an emotional time of year for many people. However, with the time that it is spent with friends and family, it should a time of reviewing the things we are grateful for. Many people tend to dwell on the negative, which triggers negative emotions and stress. But if for even in the small moments we reflect on the positives, the successes, the relationships, our entire mindset can shift.

It is not a secret to many of my clients that I am a big poker fan and player and use many concepts in my work. I often refer to the book #Positivity, by Phil Helmuth who is arguably the greatest poker player of all time. I highly recommend this book even if you are not a poker player as it just a book that gives great life advice. In it he references his "Blessings List'' or a list of things he is grateful for in life. He hangs this list up on a mirror, often with a positive mantra or inspirational quote with it. The result of this approach is that everyday he is reminded and more aware of the positives in life, and in turn is happier. I think this is the right time of year to remind yourself of the blessings or things each of us should be grateful for. Then approach described above is simple and can be used by general clients, students, and those involved in sports.

General clients, particularly those struggling with anxiety and depression would really benefit by focus on the concept of gratitude. They typically tend to be the type of people who really overlook their successes and the good things in life and instead dwell on the negative. This in turn just feeds the anxiety and depressions. I think for general clients the written component is great as it is a visual reinforcer of the positives. My recommendation for general clients is keep it simple. Find daily successes, no matter how big or small. Look at what keeps you going, who are your best supports, and what you did to just get through the day, and give yourself credit for doing it. Just this small approach will improve your daily mental health.

As for students, obviously they will tend to prioritize school, homework, test scores, etc. Many of the same challenges as general clients exist for them. I think for students they should emphasize on themes of process with learning, and even learning about new topics. While being grateful with outcomes, an emphasis on process will continue to lead to great outcomes. At the same time, I'd recommend to student focusing on topics of their relationships. While many students often complain about teachers, I think a lot of reflection of how much their teachers really help them on a daily basis will shift that negative mindset. Finally, these same clients need to remind themselves of how important and supportive friends and family can be, and the role they play in helping the person be successful.

Finally for athletes being grateful and reminding themselves of things to be grateful for will only facilitate better performance. As with students, family and friends are essential, but I believe it is important to add in coaches, trainers, teammates, and maybe even competitors to the blessings life. Each of these groups make athletes better at their sport, but also a better person. I think reminding themselves of the time that they have overcome adversity, or made small successes, will have the same benefits for them as general clients It will help them move on from bad performances, learn from them, and apply these lessons to future performances.

This blog was one a brief summary of how being Grateful can improve mental health and confidence regardless of what your need is. There are many other ways that each of these three groups can benefit from this process. As we said, given the fact that we are entering the holiday season, this is perfect time of year to remind yourself be Grateful, focus on the Positives, and your mental health will improve accordingly.


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