Gratitude: The Art of Giving Thanks

community outreach digital well-being Nov 23, 2022
Gratitude: The Art of Giving Thanks

What is gratitude? 

Gratitude is more than a simple “thank you”: it's the ability to acknowledge the goodness in your life and show thankfulness towards others. As November marks the month of gratitude, let’s take the time to understand the benefits of being grateful and ways to practice gratitude to your loved ones, online and in-person.


 The science behind gratitude

A study by Dr. Michael E. McCullough from the University of Miami and Dr. Robert A. Emmons, from the University of California, revealed that practicing gratitude  positively impacts our mental health and physical well-being. Participants were divided into three groups and asked to summarize their week according to particular topics. The first group was encouraged to state events that occurred in the week for which they were grateful. On the other hand, the second group was told to summarize their week with a focus on frustrating and irritable events. The third group acted as a control, writing down events that occurred in the week without strongly emphasizing their impact. After ten weeks, the research revealed that individuals who focused on gratitude were more optimistic and happy. Moreover, they were more motivated to exercise and had lower doctor visitation rates, whereas, those who zoomed in on the negative aspects of their week were at higher risks of poor mental health and even a weaker immune system. 


Gratitude can also strengthen your neural pathways. Practicing gratitude releases serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that regulate our mood and play an integral role in how happy we feel. Daily release of these chemicals strengthens our neural pathways, allowing us to focus on more positive and optimistic aspects in stressful situations as our brains adapt to these pathways. Practicing gratitude encompasses numerous benefits. Besides positive influences on mental and physical well-being, gratitude improves relationships, self-esteem, and even sleep. 


Now that we have covered gratitude’s benefits, let’s look at how we can cultivate it.



Journaling is a beneficial tool in helping our brains regulate emotions and evoke mindfulness. Take some time out of your day and jot down what you’re grateful for. This allows you to distinguish moments of gratitude amongst other ordinary events and gain a sense of appreciation. In addition, journaling increases our self-awareness and enables us to gradually rewire our thought process to focus on more positive outlooks during times of adversity 


Participate in Gratitude Challenges Online 

We all have observed trends and hashtags to spread thankfulness and share the people we value. Participating in such trends is a great way to jump-start practicing gratitude! Not only are you expressing your appreciation, but you’re positively contributing to social media. At times social media can become a barrage of mean and spiteful comments. Spreading gratitude helps remodel these platforms into safer and more comforting online spaces. 


Express Gratitude to Others 

Whether it’s sending out a simple text on social media or even writing a letter to someone, try expressing your gratitude towards your loved ones. Let them know that you appreciate and value them. Such acts nurture relationships and strengthen your bond with those who matter.


Random Acts of Kindness 

One of the greatest ways to practice gratitude is by participating in acts of kindness. You can send messages to your favorite bloggers or influences, telling them how much you appreciate their work. Try complimenting someone’s recent post or reach out to someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Acts of kindness would not only strengthen their day but help you feel more content. 


Gratitude can be expressed in a plethora of ways. Finding the method that suits you and allows you to practice gratitude daily is crucial. Practicing gratitude strengthens relationships, improves self-esteem, and, most importantly, lets us take pleasure and delight in good experiences. Join #ICanHelp in focusing on gratitude this November by following our gratitude posts and challenges on the #ICanHelp Instagram.

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