Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving May Decrease Your Depression
It's true! And I'm not talking about the dopamine levels in turkey. In the last few years the new science of "positive psychology" has repeatedly shown that, "People who practice gratitude are more optimistic, report fewer physical symptoms of illness and pain, and lower levels of chronic stress and depression," as one researcher summarizes.

Sounds great, doesn't it? But note that you need to "practice" gratitude -- and that means writing it down. Aha! The key seems to be that we'll feel gratitude's positive effects not by thinking or even speaking about things for which we are thankful, but that these things must be written down.

The Thanksgiving season is the perfect time to start writing a daily list of three things for which you are grateful. They may be huge or tiny. I find it most helpful to write these as three sentences, "I, Beth, and grateful for...." You don't need to make a lengthy list or write for 20 minutes on any of these, although we sometimes do this in my classes. Just write down three things that make you feel thankful inside. To me, that feeling -- even if I can hold it for only a few seconds -- is incompatible with depression. So take three minutes and do it... now! A peaceful and joyful Thanksgiving to you all. --Beth

1) I, Beth, am grateful that I at last became a mom this year.
2) I, Beth, am grateful that it's raining out right now -- we need the water, and it smells fresh.
3) I, Beth, am grateful that I know that I'll have food available for dinner.


nickibear said...

I gave up drugs and I gave up alcohol, but coffee and cigarettes? There must be a plus to this hell on earth. I will try to write the grateful list, how can it hurt. Thanks for your blog.

Roop said...

A generalized anxiety disorder causes excessive and unrealistic anxiety about life circumstances. Usually it is a feeling of anxiousness and worry about things even when everything is fairly stable in your life. You might feel nervous, but don't know the reason for the same. Nothing has changed in your life, today is actually a nice looking day, and all is pretty much going well in your life, but you still feel nervous about something or the other.