Mental Health Minute: Gratitude
During this time of self-quarantine, it can be easy to dwell on the things that we no longer have: our independence, our ability to visit friends and family, or our ability to go to the beach or the park, for example. When things seem to be going wrong as human beings it is much easier to focus on the negatives than the positives. It doesn’t help that sometimes our negative feelings are reinforced through social media or continually watching the news right now or even conversations with others. But continually focusing on the negative can lead to feelings of sadness and depression.
One way of lifting these sad feelings is through the practice of gratitude. When we learn to find and see the positive things in our lives, we can change the way we feel even if for a moment. It’s not easy to be grateful when things are going wrong or the world around you looks grim. Making a commitment to practice gratitude can help get through the tough moments.
Creating a space for gratitude takes commitment and a change of habit. In the beginning it is important to make time for gratitude. This can be done by creating a gratitude journal. At the start of each day or at the end of each day write down three things that you are grateful for. Notice the way you feel when you say these out loud. You will begin to feel a shift in your attitude. It doesn’t mean that all your problems will magically disappear, but it may help you to see things in a different light and be able to deal with them in a better way. Eventually, over time, you may be able to turn a negative thought into something more positive by seeing the gratitude in the moment, person or event.
There are other ways of developing a gratitude practice. You can use your phone to take pictures of something that makes you grateful such as a loved one, the sunshine, or something beautiful in nature. When you are feeling like life might not be treating you right you can then look back at the pictures on your phone that make you smile and remind yourself that you do have some good things in your life.
Another way to practice gratitude is to create a gratitude jar. Every day write down something you are grateful for and put that in the jar. At the end of the week look at the slips of paper in the jar and remind yourself of the things in your life that make you grateful. You might surprise yourself!!
Continue to stay safe. You are important and I am grateful for YOU!
If you are in crisis, please remember that the following services are available to speak or text with you 24/7:
NAMI 24/7 Crisis Text Line: Text “NAMI” TO 741741
Family Help Line: 727-791-3434
Peer Support Help Line: 727-600-5838
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Pinellas County Mobile Crisis Response Team: 727-362-4424
Suicide/Emergency Hotline – Pinellas County: 727-791-3131
Crisis Center of Tampa Bay (for financial, mental health or domestic violence issues): Dial 211
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
24 HOUR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: (727) 895-4912 | TTY: (727) 828-1269
OUTSIDE PINELLAS COUNTY: (800) 500-1119 | TTY: (800) 621-4202
The Haven: Domestic Violence Hotline: (727) 442-4128, TDD: (727) 223-4946
Rape Crisis Line – Local: 727-530-7273
ART THERAPY: GRATITUDE WHEELS
One 8 x 14 sheet of paper
10 craft sticks
One permanent marker
One glue stick
Begin a gratitude practice by thinking of people, places and things that bring joy to your life. These can be things in nature, events, people, thoughts or places. On each craft stick write the name of each thing that makes you feel grateful. Use a glue stick to affix the craft sticks on the paper in a circular fashion. You can write the words “I Am Grateful For” along the top of the paper or anywhere you would like on the paper. Keep this paper in a place where you can see it and remind yourself of the things you are grateful for when you are feeling like things might not be going your way. You can also add to it by just writing additional things that you think of in the empty spaces and watch how your gratitude practice grows!
Enjoy this project and know that I am grateful for YOU!