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Gratitude as a Treatment Practice for Trauma


Gratitude can be seen as an emotion we feel when we are grateful for the good moments and people that come to our lives, but it can also be a trait that allows us to see the good in our life, as well as a practice of focusing on what is going well for you. We can use the practice of gratitude as a way of healing from our trauma. By realizing what we have, we can push back the nightmares we have experienced as a thing of the past and focus on the good of what is happening now.

The Role of Gratitude in Dealing with Trauma

There are many studies that show that gratitude can be a good practice to those who have gone through a traumatic event. Researchers have studied populations that have experienced serious trauma like combat, natural disasters, or a cancer diagnosis and assessed how gratitude is connected to PTSD.

A 2017 study in the Psychological Trauma journal examined the role of gratitude in 359 survivors of a college campus shooting. The people who scored high in gratitude were able to transform their stress into growth in the aftermath of trauma. In a 2019 study in Frontiers in Psychology, 42 people with breast cancer who had daily gratitude practice reported high self-esteem, optimism, acceptance of illness, and social support, compared to those with daily journal practice.

How Gratitude Can Widen Perspective

Negative emotions have a way of narrowing your focus of the problem, whereas positive emotions can help broaden your perspective and see more possibilities. Gratitude allows us to take more notice of the good people who are around us. The trauma you are going through is stopping your brain from taking notice of the wonderful things in your life.

By practicing gratitude, you are more aware of the positivity in your life that has always been there. For example, instead of seeing COVID-19 only as a tragedy, we should feel grateful that we have the technology to be able to speak to our loved ones without being in the same room as them.

How Gratitude Can Connect You with People

People who show more positive emotions tend to draw more social support when they are stressed. Knowing how grateful we are for the people in our lives strengthens bonds and forges new ones. Gratitude is something we can practice and get better at over time to overcome our trauma.

Practicing gratitude can help, but if you are experiencing the effects of trauma, be sure to reach out for help. Located in Silver Springs, FL The Guest House provides customized care for addiction and mental illness caused by trauma. Co-founded by Judy Crane and John West, we offer a variety of treatment options, such as individualized and group therapy, grief therapy, breath work, equine therapy, art therapy, cinema therapy mindfulness, and more. To find out how we can help, please call us today at (855) 876-3884.