Using Gratitude to Help with Anxiety
February 4, 2021 at 7:00 AM
by 29 Intentions Meditation Studio

Gratitude is more than a feel-good emotion. It has real physical benefits, too.

Gratitude can do more than just make you feel better. It's a proven tool for improving your well-being, helping you cope with stress and anxiety, improving sleep quality, making you more optimistic about the future and reducing overall levels of anxiety--all things that affect how we experience everyday life.

A recent study published in the journal Emotion found that expressing gratitude leads to lower levels of cortisol (the hormone produced by our adrenal glands in response to stress) compared with those who don't express gratitude. This finding suggests that gratitude may have an anti-stress effect through its influence on cortisol levels--and indeed another study found that people who practice gratitude report feeling less stressed out throughout their day than those who did not practice it regularly

How is gratitude linked with anxiety?

Gratitude is linked with all kinds of positive outcomes. It can make you feel less anxious, more connected to other people and yourself, more optimistic about the future and even healthier!

As I mentioned before, gratitude doesn't have to be an elaborate ritual involving a special notebook or an expensive trip around the world--it can be as simple as appreciating things you already have in your life. For example:

  • You woke up this morning without feeling sick (or at least not too sick).
  • Your commute was easy today (no traffic jams or accidents).
  • Your partner cooked dinner last night so that tonight was one less thing on your plate during busy weekdays like these ones!

Can gratitude help treat anxiety?

Gratitude can help you feel better. When we feel grateful, our mood improves and we have more energy to do what needs to be done.

Gratitude can help you live longer. Research shows that people who practice gratitude are more likely to engage in healthy behavior and have better health outcomes than those who don't express gratitude.

Gratitude helps improve sleep quality because it reduces stress hormones such as cortisol while increasing chemicals like dopamine that promote relaxation and calmness during sleep time (1).

It also helps us in our relationships with others by bringing them closer together through sharing experiences where someone has helped us out or given us something special (2). For example: "Thank you for letting me borrow your pen yesterday; I really needed it!" Or maybe even just saying hello when passing someone in the hallway at work would suffice here instead of handing them back something they lent out before leaving work yesterday afternoon?

How to use gratitude to overcome anxiety

Gratitude is a powerful tool for overcoming anxiety. When you are feeling anxious, it can be difficult to focus on anything else. You may find yourself worrying about all the things that could go wrong or trying to figure out how to avoid these situations altogether. But by practicing gratitude, you can shift your focus away from the negative and onto what is going well in your life right now--and there's always something!

  • Write down 3 things you're grateful for every day (this practice alone is great for overcoming anxiety). Then look at this list regularly so that it becomes a habit and comes naturally when needed most.
  • Share your list with others: It's nice when people know what makes us happy or proud of ourselves; sharing our lists helps us feel connected with other people who care about us too! Plus sharing helps spread some extra positivity around :)

Research shows that practicing gratitude can help you reduce anxiety.

Gratitude is more than a feel-good emotion. It has real physical benefits, too.

Gratitude helps you sleep better and can reduce pain, making it easier to manage anxiety symptoms like insomnia or chronic pain. In addition to these practical benefits, gratitude may also help boost your brain's ability to cope with stressors by increasing optimism and decreasing negative thinking patterns associated with depression or anxiety disorders.

How is gratitude linked with anxiety? Research shows that practicing gratitude can help you reduce anxiety by improving your sense of well-being and life satisfaction--which in turn reduces stress hormones like cortisol in the body (the same ones that spike during panic attacks).


With all the research that's been done on gratitude and anxiety, it's clear that there are many ways to use this emotion to reduce your symptoms. You can practice gratitude by keeping a journal, writing down things you're thankful for each day or even just saying them out loud.

Check out our journals here

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