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Research has shown that consciously practising gratitude can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.




Unsure how to start practising gratitude and celebrating small victories, Kay will be looking at gratitude in her future workshops at her retreats firstly in Goa in February 2024; exploring ways and ideas on how to get started with complimentary yoga and meditation to support practising gratitude too.




Research has shown that consciously practising gratitude can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. In fact, studies have found that a single act of thoughtful gratitude produces an immediate 10% increase in happiness and a 35% reduction in depressive symptoms. These effects disappear within three to six months, which reminds us to practice gratitude over and over.


Practicing gratitude is also a great protective factor. The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) curriculum defines a protective factor as “something that decreases the chances of a person being adversely affected by a circumstance or disorder.” This protection can help in a variety of circumstances, including mental health challenges like depression and anxiety, or substance use challenges.


Gratitude and celebration can also help you tend to your emotional well-being. The MHFA curriculum lists the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) eight dimensions of well-being: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual. Each aspect of your well-being is equally important, and practising gratitude is just one way you can tend to your emotional well-being on the journey to care for your whole self.


You can begin to practice gratitude by thinking of what you’re thankful for, like family and friends, your home or a beautiful sunny day, rather than being consumed by what is going wrong. Writing these thoughts down or saying them aloud can even help you stay positive during difficult times.


Another important aspect of practising gratitude is celebrating small victories. We often get caught up in celebrating large accomplishments, a new job, getting married, buying a house, etc. And while these things are certainly monumental and should be celebrated, it is equally important to celebrate the small moments of life. Sometimes, simply getting out of bed on a bad day can be a cause for celebration!


But more often, our daily lives are full of distractions and stress, and we let our small achievements go unnoticed, even internally. Think about the past few days, what have you accomplished that went unnoticed? Did you cook a delicious meal, start a new book or chat with a loved one? Take a moment now to celebrate that, to express gratitude. Perhaps you might write it down in a journal.


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