The Amazing Anti-depressant Quality of Gratitude


I notice a lot of people focusing on what isn’t working, what’s wrong with the world, problems in relationship, and negativity in general. Not very shockingly, the more that you focus on what isn’t working, the more you see how it isn’t working.

I am sure this has happened to you before. You are upset with your partner and you feel hurt or angry and then your mind starts to produce examples of what a horrible person your partner has been. Pretty soon you are feeling like you are in a truly terrible relationship. But what if you didn’t ignore the negative encounter that happened, yet, you placed it in the center or whole of your relationship? Often the result is that you can feel happier, more secure and then go to your partner and kindly, compassionately discuss the event and really find some solutions.

Energy flows through attention and intention.

Mindfulness can assist you in shifting the flow of energy from negative to positive.

It’s like a feedback loop of energy. If you feel bad and you focus on negativity, you actually feel worse, rather than better.

One of the fastest ways to see what is working in your life and really up level your personal consciousness is to identify things for which you feel grateful. This attitude of gratitude shifts your inner sense of security, aligns your sense of empowerment, courage, strength, and spiritual openness. It actually creates the space for you to shift negative situations into positive ones, because you will feel more empowered and you can actually see the problem within the context of the greater whole.

You will have an easier time operating from a secure, happy, compassionate place.

So let’s try it:

  • Take an inner review of how you feel right now, without going into the drama or trauma you are experiencing.
  • Consider how you feel toward yourself, your life, your relationships. From 1-10, 1 being joyful and secure and 10 being fearful, depressed, or in despair.
  • Okay, now write down where you are on that scale and put an emotionally descriptive word by it. Great.
  • Now, write down 20 things for which you are grateful.
  • These can be 20 things about that person with whom you may be experiencing a sense of displeasure, OR a broader combination of 20 things, people and personal qualities that buoy your sense of peace and strength.

Once you have written down your 20 things, do a review of how you feel. Did it change? For most people it does change in a positive way. It isn’t that the things that may not be working in your life start working, it’s that you have refocused your energy on the positive so that you can feel strengthened to change the things you can and accept the things you cannot change.

It is a mindfulness reset.

This is a great exercise to employ any time you start to feel down and just can’t get out of the rut of negativity.

You can practice this daily, even when you aren’t feeling down. Maintaining this sense of mindfulness and attitude of gratitude is a powerful prevention tool to keep you centered.

Practice this daily. Simply identifying what you are grateful for in your life, in your relationships, in your work, and the environment around you. You are developing your mindfulness muscle; you are developing your capacity to see from an integrated and centered perspective.

Also, as a habit, Don’t focus on what isn’t working first.

Identify everything that is working in each of your relationships and then you can place the problem within the context of gratitude. It will help you to be solution focused. You will have greater compassion for those with whom you feel conflict and be able to own your own part of any negative situation.

And for those of you who may feel that this practice might make you accept situations that are not good for you, let me assuage your concerns. This practice allows you to get out of truly negative situations, as well as increase the positivity of those situations that are mutually empowering and good for you. It is a practice in clarity and wholeness.

One additional note: If you sit down to attempt this practice and you just can’t feel positive about yourself, or your partner, or your situation, then try resetting through toning (sound) and smells.

Energy has a lightly substantial quality to it — so if you just had a fight or just had the same fight for the hundredth time, you may need to clear the air. You can do this with sound, ring a bell, or chime a toning bowl to clear your physical environment. Or simply tone with your voice the vowel sounds, eh, ee, ah, O, oo, several times over with increasing breath. This will center you.

For a shift through smell, you may use essential oil sprays of: any citrus for anger and depression; rose geranium for apathy or despair; or clove, lavender or pine to create a sense of serenity and forgiveness.

Salt has the capacity to suck up negativity energy, so you may throw a little salt on the ground to help get the space to neutral. And if you feel that the negativity energy is still on you, try washing your hands with a little grapefruit wash or a dab of baking soda.

You will already feel differently within yourself and then can resume the practice of focusing on what is working in your relationship first, before you put your attention to solving the problem.

Gratitude and mindfulness are powerful tools for change. Your outside environment reflects your internal environment. The power to change your world begins from your perspective; shift the energy to positive and you will see more things working. Change your attitude. Heal your spirit. Balance your life.

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Dr. Beth Gineris
Beth Gineris is an integrative medicine clinician and mindfulness author focused on the elevation of consciousness. She has two books on Mindfulness in relationship: Turning No to ON: The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness, and Turning Me to WE: The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness. She has practiced the art of mindful healing for over 25 years. You can find out more about her at


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