Improve Your Mental Health by Expressing Gratitude


Everyone strives for happiness and joy in their recovery. However, it can be easy to lose our sense of appreciation for all the things we have been given by sobriety.

We lose sight of how wonderful the gifts of sobriety have been in our loves, and find ourselves falling back into our past feelings of:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Discontentment

The simple act of expressing gratitude and appreciation can get us back on track, as well as improve our happiness and health.

How Does Gratitude Affect Mental Health?

A study on the effects of gratitude by Robert A. Emmons of the University of California at Davis and Mike McCullough of the University of Miami found surprising conclusions.

The study asked three groups of participants to keep a weekly journal.

  • The first group wrote down five things that they were grateful for in the past week
  • The second group wrote down five things that had bothered them in the past week
  • A third control group wrote down five things that had occurred within the past week, without judging the events as positive or negative

After ten weeks, Emmons and McCullough found that the grateful group rated themselves as 25 percent happier, had fewer health complaints, fewer doctor visits, and exercised 1.5 hours more.

A later study found that the benefits of gratitude increase when participants kept a daily, rather than weekly, journal of things they were grateful for. The practice of gratitude can also improve the mental health of individuals suffering from depression.

According to a 2012 Huffington Post article, The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier by Ocean Robbins,

“Several studies have shown depression to be inversely correlated to gratitude. It seems that the more grateful a person is, the less depressed they are. Philip Watkins, a clinical psychologist at Eastern Washington University, found that clinically depressed individuals showed significantly lower gratitude (nearly 50 percent less) than non-depressed controls.”

Research shows that practicing daily gratitude can improve our happiness, mental health, physical health, and relationships with others.

In recovery, these benefits can prove to be invaluable to our well-being and peace of mind. The simple act of appreciation can go a long way to improving your own life and the lives of others.

A life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom is waiting for you in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin taking the first steps on the rewarding journey of recovery. Lakehouse Recovery Center provides access to highly qualified and knowledgeable clinicians and substance abuse counselors dedicated to guiding you toward a brighter future. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 762-3707


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