How Gratitude Can Help Lessen Your Stress


This is a good time of year to de-stress.

As we continue to be engaged civically, learning how to lessen our stress is really important. Even with a new Congress being sworn in in mere days, there’s a lot we still need to fix and change in our country, and we need folks to be here for the long haul. Cultivating skills to de-stress is one key to our success.

Expressing gratitude is one way we can de-stress. Dr. Robert Emmons has researched gratitude for years, and looked at the ways it affects our physical and mental health. You can read a great summary of his findings at his article Why Gratitude is Good, but here are four main points:

✦ Gratitude magnifies positive emotions
✦ Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions
✦ Grateful people are more stress resistant
✦ Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth

Today, I encourage you to express gratitude in some way. Is there someone you like to talk to about politics? Let them know you appreciate that they’re there. Did your Congressperson or Senator vote the way you wanted on a recent bill? Send them an email and let them know. For weekly inspiration, check out the Acts of Gratitude that appears towards the end of every Americans of Conscience Checklist

It is easy to concentrate on all the bad things that are happening. They need our attention because we want to fix them. But taking time to focus on the good things that are happening and taking a moment to express that gratitude will help you stay engaged for much longer. And we need you.

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