April 02, 2020 3 min read

If you suffer from depression, you've probably had someone tell you that you can get better by just being happy. Hearing this is incredibly frustrating and invalidating. Don't these people know that if you could just choose to be happy, you would?

As misguided as this advice is, there is actually a small shred of truth to this idea. There is a concept in therapeutic practices called positive psychology that these statements are loosely based on. Most of the people who would tell you to be happy don't understand how positive psychology works.

Positive psychology is a field of study that tries to figure out what makes life worth living through scientific efforts. It focuses on building up good things in life. It does not mean ignoring what you are going through or denying that you are struggling. That is the big difference between positive psychology and "just being happy."

One of the most important aspects of positive psychology is gratitude. Studies show that gratitude can change how your brain is wired.

Gratitude is not the same as being happy. Being grateful just means that you are making an effort to show appreciation for kindness and for the good things you have in your life. You can be grateful and still feel depressed. 

What Gratitude Does to Our Brains

When you express gratitude, you are activating your hypothalamus. This part of your brain is responsible for regulating your appetite, growth, metabolism, temperature, and sleep. Being grateful can also help you decrease illness and pain symptoms.

There are dozens of studies on how gratitude affects people who practice it on a regular basis. However, up until last year, there wasn't a lot of research on how it affected those who struggles with mental issues.

Berkeley conducted a study involving almost 300 college students seeking mental health counseling. In the study, each of the participants were split into three groups. All participants received counseling. But in addition to that counseling, each group received instructions.

The first were instructed to write a letter of appreciation to one person each week. The second group were told to write about their thoughts and feelings concerning negative experiences they'd been through. The third group didn't have any writing exercises.

Researchers found that three months after that participants had finished their writing exercise, the participants had much better mental health than both of the other groups in the study.

How to Bring More Gratitude into Your Life When You're Already Feeling Depressed

If you want to get similar results to those in the study, you have a few options. You can also write letters of gratitude to people in your life each week, but that's not the only option.

One popular way to express gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Make an effort to write about one thing you are grateful for every day. If you don't have much time, all you need to do is write a sentence. Doing this will help you build a habit of being grateful and will make it easier for you to see the good in the world, even when things are hard.

Another way to show gratitude is to take time to consider what someone else is going through. When someone makes you feel upset or hurt, it can be difficult to try and see things from their perspective. But doing this can help you get a better understanding of what they are experiencing and can help you build up the skill of being grateful, even when things get rough.

It can seem hard to believe that doing something as simple as being grateful can help you improve your depression. But that's what makes this news encouraging. You don't have to go through difficult and complicated steps to make your life better. That is something worth celebrating.

Join us in changing the vibe of the current environment with #thegoodvibechallenge 

Connect with us on Facebook @mindbodymatrix 

It's simple... Every day take a few moments to write down:

1.) What you are grateful for today

2.) What you look forward to tomorrow 

 

Started by the founder of MindBody Matrix, join Dr. TK  The Quantum Pharmacist, in changing the current energy and vibrations around the world and directly changing your brain chemistry. 

Sending you Peace,

 

MindBody Matrix 

 

Tip: Keep your grateful challenge in a notepad or even your notes app on your smart phone. Being able to reflect on what you've been grateful for brings you double the smiles.

 

 

 

MindBody Matrix
MindBody Matrix


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