DAILY EXPRESSIONS OF
CAN BOOST MENTAL HEALTH
By Yuleisy Cardoso, M.A., MFT.
t’s not uncommon to express gratitude on a day like
Thanksgiving, but what should happen if we practice
expressions of gratitude everyday such as keeping a
daily gratitude journal?
Neuroscientists reveal there are lots of mental health
benefits when we keep a daily gratitude journal, it
helps us create a happier and healthier mental state. A
center called Mindfulness Awareness Research Center
based out of UCLA tells us that expressing gratitude
on a daily basis changes the way we re-wire our brain.
We are no longer creating brain cells and reinforcing
neuropathways between those cells that make us
behave and perceive our world like “Negative Nancies”
or with the glass half-empty. Instead, our brain begins
to create brain cells and reinforce connections between
these cells that help us see our world in a more positive
and rosie-colored way. Now we begin to behave, think
and experience emotions like a “Positive Patty,” and we
begin to perceive our world with the glass half-full, we
are happier and healthier beings.
You can find studies online and read how keeping
a gratitude journal boosts mental health. A study
conducted by Robert A. Emmons at the University of
California and his colleague Mike McCullough at the
University of Miami divided participants into three
groups. One group was asked to keep a gratitude
journal, the second group of participants was asked
to keep a journal of things in their day that were
bothering them, and the third group was asked to keep
a daily journal that tracked neutral events, (neither
good nor bad). After ten weeks of journaling, the
group instructed to keep a gratitude journal reported
feeling 25 percent happier than the other two groups.
In another study conducted by the same researcher,
Robert A. Emmons, participants were asked to
complete gratitude exercises each day. These
participants reported feeling more altruistic
(self-less) towards others, offering others more
emotional support as opposed to participants who
did not practice gratitude exercises.
An additional study was conducted in which
participants were asked to keep a nightly
gratitude journal whilst the other group was
asked to not keep a nightly gratitude journal. The
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