More and more people suffer from depression today and there is a danger that by 2020 depression becomes the second most common illness worldwide. Experts from various scientific areas search for new approaches to avoid that. In response to that question, I would like to propose a special treatment that not only decreases the level of depression but also increases the level of subjective well-being and happiness – the gratitude training.
Gratitude is regarded as an important factor for well-being and happiness according to the latest positive psychology research. In my personal theoretical study I reviewed the recent literature (i.e., 2000-2015) relating gratitude training and depression. I organized the findings to show the crucial effects of gratitude training.
Gratitude training is based on cognitive training and aims to focus attention on positive emotion, that is gratitude. I also described some gratitude interventions applied in research to enhance well-being. As a result, I reported the most effective methods of treatment of patients with depression.
The implications of the research for professionals working to reduce depression level among adolescents and adults can be unimaginable and the exploration of gratitude demonstrates some unique mechanisms of functioning human mind. A study shows consistent positive interactions that involve gratitude, not only decrease levels of depression, but also increase happiness. That is why I would like to encourage people to practice gratitude all year round as an antidote for depressive symptoms.
It is fascinating, but still unknown, how exactly gratitude influences people. What if the gratitude training could be developed so far that it has an even more significant impact on people? What if it was so common that everybody could practice own gratitude no matter where he or she lives?
Many people haven’t heard about the value of gratitude and gratitude training yet. Through my scientific work as well as by organising social initiatives, I would like to promote the newest findings on gratitude methods and to show vital benefits of practicing gratitude in daily life.
Evidence seems to suggest that gratitude influences people significantly and that is why I wish that in the near future gratitude becomes one of the most frequently applied interactions to enhance and sustain subjective well-being. I hope this positive emotion changes the people’s perspective of looking at their own life as a “life worth living”.
About the Author
Bożena Burzyńska is a PhD candidate at University of Social Sciences and Humanities SWPS in Warsaw where she is completing her PhD in psychology. Her current research activities include leading gratitude training for people with depressive disorders. She also works on a start-up project GoodlifeLab (popularizing research on positive psychology in the community) and leads science outreach activities for adolescents. She is particularly passionate about teaching and public engagement. Apart from science, she loves traveling, singing and ballroom dancing.