The practice of gratitude is a well known scientifically proven way to change your mindset, moving away from negative or anxious thinking, and focusing more on the things that you value and appreciate.
When we think of gratitude our minds tend to go to thinking about being grateful for the people or external things that we have around us, but it is so much more than that.
Taking the time to practice gratitude can literally change your life.
Here’s a little bit of the science:
The practice of Gratitude literally stimulates the neurotransmitters in the brain, which boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are both feel good chemicals and are also included as ingredient chemicals that are used in medically prescribed antidepressants.
When you actively practice gratitude, the release of these brain chemicals are a natural and holistic way to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
These chemicals can improve your mood and can make you feel good immediately, as they are the chemicals responsible for improving emotional wellbeing and can make us feel happier.
You can practice gratitude to change your mindset into becoming more positive, but it doesn’t have to stop with you.
You also use gratitude within your relationship as an important exercise in fostering a strong and loving connection.
Connection is one of the most important aspects of having a happy home and a healthy functioning relationship.
When you feel happy, loved and appreciated within your relationship, not only does it improve the quality of the relationship, but it helps you and your spouse to feel good about being in the relationship, so it’s a win-win.
I’d like to invite you to think about the last time you expressed gratitude in your relationship, and if you need to think back to last week, last month, or even longer, then this blog will give you some practical steps that you can use to give your relationship a happy boost.
When we’ve been romantically involved in a relationship for some time, it’s easy to assume that our spouse knows how we feel about them, but it’s best to not work from assumption and make an active effort to improve and maintain a long-lasting relationship. You can do this by actively showing your gratitude and appreciation within the relationship.
You might be concerned about having the time, particularly if you are a busy working parent, life gets in the way, work commitments, family, it can all feel overwhelming.
However, this doesn’t mean that this is the time to neglect or become complacent about your relationship.
In fact this is the time to put in that extra effort and focus into your relationship, as it will also help with your own day to day functioning, such as improving the ability to concentrate and manage daily tasks.
Furthermore, being happier and satisfied within your relationship is very healthy and educational model particularly when you have children.
It shows the dynamics of what a healthy relationship looks like, creating the foundations for healthier relationship choices as they grow into teenage and adulthood.
What children see in the home in relation to how parental figures are loving and appreciative of one another offers a great example of what it means to be in a loving relationship, it creates a stable and nurturing environment for years to come.
When you see the results of expressing gratitude in your relationship it will make putting in the extra effort worthwhile.
Better still, you can take part even if you’re an exhausted new parent or currently feel as though you are time poor, and it’s also free, in case you needed more of an incentive.
When you practice gratitude in your relationship consistently, you will notice an improvement and will likely get back some of that gratitude too.
You can start by keeping a journal and begin to write down 1-3 things you value and appreciate about your significant other, such as positive personality traits, things that they do well, or the kind and thoughtful things that they have done for you in the past.
Keep away from criticising or things that are negative, as it defeats the purpose of the exercise.
To begin with, it’s important to write it down as opposed to just having the thought.
This helps you to move away from being in a constant negative mind set about your partner, creating the space to be more open and receptive to more loving feelings.
Once you feel comfortable with this, you can try verbally expressing gratitude with your partner for a week, or even a month, and see how it positively impacts both you, your spouse and your relationship.
If you get stuck, try these sentence starters to give you some tips and ideas:
Thank you for xxxxx you saved me some time there and I really appreciate it.
That’s what I love about you…
I really appreciate it when you…
I am grateful for….
A simple thank you really goes a long way.
Lizandra Leigertwood MA MBACPNew Frame Counselling & Psychotherapy 07934 764 469 www.newframetherapy.co.uk