I created this banner during my closing art therapy experiential class at Toronto Art Therapy Institute in 2019. We were invited to reflect upon what we learned during our studies at TATI and where we felt ourselves in that moment. GRATITUDE - it was both a learning experience and a feeling for me. During my time at TATI I learned about the psychotherapeutic power of gratitude. I learned that connecting to the sense of gratitude can alleviate depression and anxiety and can substantially elevate the mood and the sense of well-being (Wood, Froh & Geraghty, 2010), especially if practiced regularly (Nezlek, Newman & Thrash, 2017).
Another way your sense of gratitude can serve you is as a feedback tool. It is very easy to use.
Take a deep breath, and think of three things you are grateful for today.
Now, reflect back at how easy or difficult it was to think of things to be grateful for.
How long does it take to think of an object of gratitude?
Does three feel like a lot or a little?
Are objects of your gratitude abstract or specific?
If it is easy to summon objects of gratitude in your mind and to connect to the sense of gratitude - thank you. You are probably connected to your heart, are in pretty stable emotional state and have a clear sense of well-being at the moment. I suppose you also feel connected to others.
If connecting to the sense of gratitude is challenging, not much comes to mind or the things that come are abstract and far-removed, take this as an indicator that it’s time to re-connect, honor your needs and feelings. Express and process.
Working with gratitude is an integral part of my personal practice as well as in my sessions. I am so grateful for this lesson and gift of Gratitude and I am honored to share this practice with my clients.
Nezlek, J.B., Newman, D.B. & Thrash, T.M. (2017). A daily diary study of relationships between feelings of gratitude and well-being. Journal of Positive Psychology, 12(4), pp.323-332
Wood, A.M., Froh, J.J. & Geraghty, A.W.A (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), pp.890-905.