This remarkably difficult year has forced us to change how we approach every aspect of our life. Perspectives and coping skills have been challenged as quite heavy concerns weigh on us. So many individuals and families have experienced multiple traumas and losses this year as we cling on with sheer survival skills. Given these trying times, it is important to highlight that we are blessed with an opportunity during this season of gratitude, even as we enter a difficult period both in terms of the seasonal changes that always raise unique challenges and the special circumstances that this strange year imposes on us. As neuroscientific research catches up with collective wisdom, we now understand better the benefits of practicing gratitude as part of our daily living. One proverb affirms, “gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings” as stated in this fantastic article on “The Neuroscience of Gratitude” detailing the benefits of Thankful Thinking.
The neurological benefits of gratitude, as we have come to learn, foster happiness and emotional and social strengths via a cascading effect of wellness. Gratitude can be considered a “natural antidepressant” as research shows that the brain produces greater amounts of feel-good dopamine and serotonin when individuals both give and receive sentiments of gratitude. Neuronal rewiring and the creation of new neural pathways help restructure our cognitive connections to think positively with more permanence. A neurological change can help foster new perspectives and help reduce anxiety and stress, crucially important for all of us these days! As another article on the benefits of writing gratitude letters indicates, it is not the abundance of positive thinking that helps establish long-lasting effects of gratitude, but rather the absence of negative thinking that leads to sustained wellness and happiness over time. Individuals that wrote gratitude letters experienced better mental health at 4 weeks and even more so at 12 weeks, even if they did not share their letters with the intended recipients, as compared to individuals who were given a negative-style writing assignment or no writing assignment at all. Moreover, with our technology overload and its detrimental effects, these days harking back to antiquated modes of communication, such as letter writing, would be a wonderful break from video calls and perhaps even more beneficial than hearing the words spoken once. A letter allows you to revisit that feel-good emotion every time you reread it.
What is most important to consider for individuals who experience mental health illness, especially depression and anxiety, is that a multifaceted approach to treatment is always essential. We should all be practicing Thankful Thinking and paying-it-forward for our social and emotional wellbeing, which in turn will help strengthen our physical and mental states. But for individuals who need to strengthen that neurological foundation first (in order to establish those neuronal connections that will then lead to stronger emotional and social development) practicing gratitude along with exploring the benefits of alternative methods of treatment that target and enhance that neurological restructuring would greatly increase the chances of healing and self-growth.
Ketamine Health Centers is grateful to provide these services to enhance your current treatment plan, or to help you develop one with our exceptional professional staff. Together we can help you or a loved one begin to experience the many blessings that each of us can come to recognize, foster, and pay-forward as we grow as individuals and as a society. We wish you all a Happy and Healthy holiday season!