November is National Gratitude Month

November is National Gratitude Month

By: Nicole Passafume, Health Promotion Specialist

Many people look forward to this time of year and start to think about what they are grateful for in their lives as they plan their holiday shopping and family gatherings but for some of us that’s harder to do. As the seasons change and the leaves begin to fall a lot of us experience a change in our outlook and it’s not only the skies that get darker. The season combined with the lack of sunshine can be very challenging for many of us with a mental health diagnosis. When we are feeling down or depressed to begin with, it’s much harder to manage the day to day challenges of life.

 Focusing on the positives in any situation increases happiness which in turn decreases stress and improves our mental well being. Sure, taking the time to appreciate a good cup of coffee, or a beautiful sunset has many mental health benefits such as relieving stress and improving your mood but that’s easy. Finding the good in all situations even the bad ones takes practice that’s for sure but with practice it does come more easily. Miss your bus? Use the time to catch up on your social media or carry a book with you and catch up on your reading. Forgot to wash your clothes for work? Be creative and go shopping in your closet and put together a new outfit. Try keeping a gratitude journal or write down something that you are grateful for every day and put it in a jar. At the end of a bad day get that jar out and remind yourself of all the things you have to be grateful for.

Making gratitude part of your daily routine can help your brain to focus on the good things and become more resilient when things don’t go as planned. When something bad or unexpected happens it won’t impact us as much because we are able to recover more easily by shifting our focus to the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges, professional help is available. Valeo’s Crisis Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for walk-in mental health emergencies. It is located at 400 SW Oakley Avenue. You can also call the Valeo Crisis Line, available 24 hours a day, at 785-234-3300.