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What is gratitude?

During this time of year, it’s common for people to feel grateful for the people and things in their life. However, practicing gratitude is important to practice year-round, not just during the holidays. Practicing gratitude is a form of mindfulness, in which we show appreciation for the different parts of our lives, such as family, friends, our job, even our bodies. The more we practice gratitude, we can train ourselves to appreciate the good in our lives and learn to be grateful for them. For instance, someone who has low body esteem can learn to appreciate their body for what it does, like breathe air or get them to different places. With time, that person can learn to be grateful for the beauty of their body.

What are the benefits of practicing gratitude?

Practicing mindfulness is not always the easiest thing to do because we are trained to overlook or even criticize parts of ourselves we are not comfortable with. For instance, though it may seem odd, it’s easier for us to criticize the way we look or to focus on the things we don’t have than to appreciate and love what we do have. It’s a process of retraining our minds. When we practice gratitude, we can feel hopeful for the future, increase positive moods, increase resilience, and build resilience. Practicing gratitude can even improve our relationships and self-esteem. However, when we don’t practice gratitude, the opposite is true: we may have a negative outlook on life, poor self-esteem, and low relationship quality.

How can I practice more gratitude?

There are many ways to practice gratitude. One way is to think of three things every day which you are grateful for. These can be things like family, food, and life. Another idea is to keep a gratitude journal. There are some journals that are guided and have prompts for you to complete. You can also just use a blank journal to complete and share your reflections in. You can also reflect on past negative experiences and how you were able to overcome them. But most importantly, change the language used to describe yourself, your experiences, and your relationships.

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.