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How a Gratitude List Can Help You Take a Step Out of Depression

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As someone who deals with depression and anxiety, it is not always easy for me to maintain a positive mindset. However, I have a tool that begins my climb out of that dark hole: the gratitude list. Having an attitude of gratitude is always a good antidote for depression and anxiety, and writing down a list of 10 things you are currently thankful for is an exercise that, in my experience, provides evidence that no matter how bad things seem, there are still good things in your life.

When you first start this exercise it can be difficult to find things you are grateful for, especially if you are very depressed. It is not easy to see the good in life when yours is falling apart or you have been struggling with depression for years. However, I can guarantee that there are still things in your life to be thankful for if you think long enough. So many times in life, we take things for granted that we should really treasure. Writing a gratitude list when you are depressed can bring attention to those small things that get overlooked.

If you are struggling with writing this list, think of things as simple as having food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and to wake up with a chance to have a better day. The objective is not to have a list that will impress your friends; it is to change your mindset from what is lacking in your life to what you still have that you can appreciate.

When I first meet someone who confides in me that they are depressed, the gratitude list is the first exercise I suggest for them. I encourage them to write the list and then read it in the mornings so that at the very start of their day, that person begins with a mindset of gratitude. By starting the day seeing 10 things you currently have in your life to be thankful for, you are taking a step out of that dark hole of depression. If you are depressed, grab a piece of paper and start your list!

Whitney Blake Ridings is the creator of For more blog posts on living with depression and anxiety, check out her website.

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Originally published: February 15, 2021
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