How Gratitude Can Impact Your Overall Well-Being, According to a Therapist

"What we practice, by default or through intention, will eventually become real pathways in our brain."

Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images
Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

At Fortune‘s Brainstorm Health conference, actress Edie Falco explained how cancer, sobriety, therapy, and Buddhism prompted her to stop being cynical about counting her blessings. This is a response to the conversation between Falco and Arianna Huffington, shown here.

I think gratitude is different than positive thinking. I think of gratitude as the practice of seeing the other half of the truth. When people are depressed, they tend to reflect on and rehearse the half of the truth that is bad, sad, and negative. Being in a bad space tends to be isolating, so it can be hard to have helpful comparisons (e.g. “Well, at least I’m not dealing with ___”).

I also think gratitude is not about foreclosing on disappointment, hurt, anger, and sadness. It’s not about denying when something is awful. It’s just reflecting on what you still have, what’s good, and what’s better. 

And on a neuronal level, what we practice, by default or through intention, will eventually become real pathways in our brain. If we’re walking the path of negativity, that becomes the norm. Likewise with a habit of gratitude.

So it’s a dialectic. “That really sucks. And this is pretty great.” They are both true. 


    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    “Another reason that people have difficulty is due to social comparison”, Margaret “Peggy” DeLong and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

    by Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
    Community//

    How Practicing Gratitude Helps You Through Life’s Toughest Times

    by Glenn R. Fox
    Community//

    “DAILY MINDFULNESS”, Anne-Marie of Mindful Frontiers and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

    by Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.