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with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

Ease Stress by Expressing Gratitude for 7 Things

During this week of Thanksgiving, a time to reflect on gratitude, a psychologist describes her waiting-room intervention to encourage clients to focus their attention more on gratitude.  Expressing gratitude for these seven things not only ease stress, but improve mood as well. 

The simple act of expressing gratitude for one’s life fortunes offers such a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety that psychologist, Jessica Loftus integrated this practice as a counseling “intervention” in her waiting room years ago.  A table-top wishing well bearing the sign, “Gratitude Well”, prominently displays the invitation to “write down one thing for which you are grateful on a piece of paper and toss it into the well.” Each week a gratitude drawn from the well is posted conspicuously in the waiting room. The Gratitude Well inspires clients, who are usually struggling with serious life problems, to think more positively, even for the moment.

Listed below are sample offerings to the Gratitude Well during 2018. Several themes emerged. Clients cited pets most frequently as a focus of their gratitude.  This coincides with their frequent reports that pets are loyal, honest, unconditionally loving, present, non-judgmental, genuine and just fun. Supportive family and friends ranked a close second.  Seeking or receiving support was prominently noted in client’s listing faith, people or willingness to seek help.  Even though many clients struggled with anxiety and depression, many expressed gratitude for being alive.  Simple, often taken for granted freedoms or experiences appeared, although with less frequency.

Here are the specific responses to the question, “What are you grateful for?”

Beloved Pets

My little Bunny, Hoppers.  He brings a smile to my face.

My cat, Cinnamon

My beloved horse who is my faithful companion.

My dog, Zoey

Ralph, my dog, who always knows how to cheer me up.

Unconditional love from an animal

Walking my dog

Visiting a local animal shelter

 

Family and Friends

My loving sister

My healthy new-born baby

Little girls who can’t stop giggling

A real person

Friends who support me

Someone who is willing to truly listen to me

 

Being Alive

I am on the right side of the dirt!

I wake up every day even though I don’t want to.

Hope that this life will improve

Life

Hope of a better future

Being alive to enjoy this glorious day

Grateful to be alive.  Mom and Dad RIP.

 

Faith in God

Grace

God, who walks with me daily

All the gifts we are given but we miss.

My faith

Jesus, who forgives me

My guardian angel

Being in a world where I know that I am loved.

 

Getting Help with Life’s Problems

My willingness to seek help

My counselor

Second chances

Learning it’s okay to ask for help

Having a friendly ear on the ready

 

People in General

The Army

My Teachers

Love

An Engagement

All of Whom I meet

The chance to show off my talents without judgment

It is not my fault for others’ cruel behaviors

 

Simple Things

This beautiful weather

Watching the clouds roll by on a lazy summer day.

Today’s glorious temperatures

A walk in the rain

My home

Food

Freedom

Legalization

What is this Psychologist Grateful for?

“I am grateful for all the opportunities in my life to use my true gifts to help others to find their true gifts and walk their true paths.  I am also grateful for this opportunity to encourage all of you to focus a bit more on gratitude. While feasting on a bountiful Thanksgiving meal, take a few moments to reflect on the many simple things for which you are grateful.  You will be amazed at how this will improve your mood.”

 

Image is under license from Shuterstock.com

Ease Stress by Expressing Gratitude for 7 Things


Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. Jack Murray, an award-winning journalist, serves as her co-author, writing coach and editor. Jessica just published a story, "The Queen Who Served" which is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat. Royalties from this book will be donated to American Humane, an organization dedicated to animal welfare.


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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2018). Ease Stress by Expressing Gratitude for 7 Things. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/ease-stress/2018/11/what-are-counseling-clients-most-grateful-for-their-pets/

 

Last updated: 23 Nov 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.