University

01/14/2011

The secret to mental health isn't rocket science -- it's gratitude

Einstein Albert Einstein knew a lot about math and physics.  Did he also know how to beat depression?

This quote of his – “There are two ways to look at life. One way is that nothing is a miracle. The other is that everything is a miracle.” – suggests that perhaps he did. 

For all his intellectual grandeur, Einstein had a profound understood the shared experience of being human: needs, wants, and pain. His strategy was to develop gratitude and forgiveness as part of one’s the foundational experience of daily living. Exist in gratitude for daily life

A newly released book, The Mind-Body Mood Solution: The Breakthrough Drug-Free Program for Lasting Relief from Depression – tackles this very subject.  Gratitude, it suggests, is the mechanism to free oneself from depression and meaningless living.

Jeffrey Rossman’s empirical research and academic acumen provides the glue and adhesive for our broken hearts and unlived potentialities.

Given the recent tragedy in Tucson, Arizona and other national and personal travesties, gratitude seems inconceivable and implausible--the farthest thing from logic. Look again. Try these tips: Cheesy? Maybe. Psychologically Effective—Irrefutably so!

1. Keep a gratitude journal: That’s right! Pull out your Bic pen before shutting your eyelids. At the end of each day, write three experiences that you feel grateful for. From day to day—make sure there are no repeats—be as specific and unique as possible.

2. Gratitude Letter: Fear not, this does not bring you back to your “pen pal” years. Find one person in your life who has been your knight in shinning armor—and properly and formally thank them for the gift they have been to your life.

3. Say Grace Before Each Meal:  Good Food, Good Meat, Good God, let’s eat! Not quite—regardless of your spiritual practice, make it your business to take a moment before eating in recognition of the nourishing gift of food and the loving presence of those accompanying you around the table.

4. Thanksgiving for those who serve: Whether it’s the slow barista at Starbucks, the speedy drive thru cashier for your noon-time happy meal, or the person holding the door on a rainy day—make a point to thank those who help you in your travels—daily!

 5. Take a gratitude walk.  If you are lucky enough to not live in Antarctic weather, check out the beautiful greenery in your yard, on your walk into work, or on your Sunday morning stroll. Take a moment to mindfully consider and appreciate each thing you see.

6. Find moments during the course of each day to appreciate: This is the key to the treasure chest of mood stability and meaningful living. Each day, each hour, each passing second—make it part of your daily routine and awareness to find the good and blessing in each and every task. At the very least, feel the warmth of your own breath—and the beat of your heart—inhale gratitude.

 

Rossman isn’t the only researcher to have found that techniques like this make a big difference to our mental health.  Martin Seligman, at the University of Pittsburgh, conducted research on severely depressed middle aged adults and found that gratitude – and the suggestions above – helped improve major depression in ninety four percent of people in his sample population. Implementing such strategies, Seligman has successfully proved the far-reaching effects of Positive Psychology. And, because gratitude is a habit forming practice, Seligman found the improvement in mood to be lasting at a six month follow up study.

For a side effect free, financially complimentary, ageless practice—try gratefulness each and everyday that you are blessed to live. It is more effective than a little white pill…leaves your bank account unchanged…and never goes out of style.

Take it from Einstein.

-- Liz Schreiber

Posted at 07:46 AM in

Share this

share

Don't miss a thing - follow Saybrook on social media

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Google Plus

Comments