Practicing gratitude | Advice for young people | Jigsaw Online

Watch: Practicing gratitude

Alan talks about positive thinking and how you can practice gratitude

Gratitude is sometimes described as the antidote to fear or anxiety. It is an emotion and can be defined as the “quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” (Oxford Dictionary)

Practicing gratitude can help to regulate emotions and support stress relief. As well as helping us in our day to day life,  it can have a positive impact on our family and friends. Studies have shown that it can positively improve sleep, relationships, and friendships.

When we are going through difficult times, worries and fear can take up a lot of our focus. The practice of finding ways to be grateful, appreciative and thankful can encourage us to broaden our perspective on life. Unfortunately, it does not take our worries away but allows us space to think of the bigger picture.

One of the positives of lockdown is spending valuable time with my family

Emily, 18, Jigsaw volunteer, Donegal

Write it down 

Keeping a ‘gratitude journal’ can help us to practice gratitude.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Choose a format that suits you, it could be audio, visual or written, by hand or typed
  • Decide on a regular time to complete your journal entry
  • You could start with ‘While I sometimes worry about … Today I am thankful for … This is because …’
  • Get specific, go into detail about why it is that you are grateful for. For example ‘I am grateful for my breakfast…because it is  a meal that keeps me full and nourished and satisfied. I like it also because it is time shared with my family.’

Try to come up with at least three things each day. You will find after a while that you start to become more aware of the positives through out the day to balance out some of the challenges.