Gratitude (Giving Thanks, n.d.) comes from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. It is an act of appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. Moreover, it is a process of acknowledging where the source of that goodness lies. As a result, by expressing gratitude, people benefit from interconnectedness with other people, things, and nature.
Gratitude becomes a natural antidepressant when practiced daily. As the brain releases two crucial neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin, they trigger emotions, making a person feel happy (Chowdhury, 2020). As neural pathways strengthen, they ultimately create a permanent and positive nature within oneself. Consequently, the effect of gratitude on the brain is long-lasting, significantly affecting stress, anxiety, and depression. Exhibiting gratitude especially during the COVID pandemic period contributes to one's mental health. Below is a diagram showing the social, physical, and psychological benefits of practicing gratitude:
This year has marked the most unfathomable and dreadful incident in history for all. Some of you may have lost loved ones, worried about your own life as a front liner, worked long hours from home, or stressed about job security. Despite the uncertainty and sadness happening, you must not despair and learn to become a warrior: be resilient and practice gratefulness. Discovering a ‘new’ routine is nurturing new interests into passion, like baking, sewing; meditating; zooming with your family or good old friends; or decluttering to donate for charity. Learning to appreciate simple joys in life is a good exercise of gratefulness.
The benefits of gratitude will not happen immediately. It might take time to have a profound effect depending on how regularly you genuinely practice it. However once it becomes a daily routine, you will naturally experience more positive thought pathways.
Chowdhury, M. (2020). The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief. Positive Psychology. Retrieved August, 2020 from https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/
(n.d.). Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier. Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. Retrieved December, 2020 form https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier