I know I am not the only one who is sick of hearing the news these days. However, it is impossible to ignore all the problems going on in our world between the continued spread of the coronavirus and the racial tensions blanketing our society. It is critical that we don’t internalize all the information we encounter and harm ourselves with the stress often associated with such issues. Mental Health problems are rising significantly as a result of these societal problems. Interpersonal relationships are being challenged as we are told to socially distance and as racial divides appear to be widening. Yet, we all have things for which we can be thankful, where we can find gratitude. Let us explore how such a simple idea of gratitude can positively impact the negative influences we face daily.
Gratitude, according to the Webster dictionary, “is the state of being grateful: Thankfulness”. Being grateful is being appreciative of the gifts we receive. According to an article in the Harvard Health Publishing, “gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible” such as the crisp autumn air, the sun shining or a warm cup of coffee. When we practice gratitude, we are acknowledging the good in our lives. Seeing the good happening in our lives helps us see that goodness in life often lies outside of ourselves. This gets us out of our selfish states and shows us that there is something grater then ourselves, be it other people or a potential higher spiritual power.
I have a plaque in my kitchen that reads “Gratitude makes what we have enough”. When I see it, I am reminded that material things will not bring me happiness. Much research has been done on gratitude which has illustrated a great connection between gratitude and being happy. Research has shown that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, improve their health and cope better with problems faced. So, let’s see if we can practice some simple gratitude tools and start feeling happier!
Gratitude can be cultivated. We just need to practice. One easy and common practice is writing a gratitude list. Start out with a goal that is practical for your life, avoid setting yourself up for failure. Pick one time a week to sit down and write out what you are thankful for, or what has gone well in your life, challenge yourself to write at least 5 things. More if you are feeling ambitious. Another practice would be writing a thank you note to someone you feel deserves your thanks. Send one letter a month, or better yet, deliver it and read it to that individual. Meditate, pray or journal. Regardless of how you do it, practice being grateful for what you have or experience. And slow down and see how being grateful can build a more positive vibe within you despite the struggles of our world.
Author: Quinn McFall, LCHMC, LCAS
I believe that the most important aspect of counseling is the relationship developed between the client and myself. I focus on the client as a holistic person. Looking at all aspects of one’s life (family, career, health, spirituality, etc.) and how those important factors impact the whole person. Nothing is more important to the outcome of therapy than the absolute positive regard I have towards those I assist. I believe that regardless of why one seeks emotional guidance, we all want to be reassured that we will be treated with respect and dignity. That is a promise I make to each and every person I counsel.
I specialize in the treatment of depression, anxiety, mood disorders and substance abuse. I utilize evidence based practices including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Enhancement to help people resolve concerns and improve their quality of life. I’m dedicated to physical wellness to assist in stress management and strengthening self-esteem and self-worth.
I am a native to the gulf coast of Florida but have been in the triangle for 18 years. I received my undergraduate degree from Sewanee; The University of the South, in Tennessee, and my graduate degree from East Carolina University, in Rehabilitation Counseling and Substance Abuse Counseling. I am fully licensed as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. The field of psychotherapy is always evolving which is why I continually attend continuing education courses and follow new trends in the field to better serve my clients.