Forum: Expressing gratitude can boost one's well-being

Singapore is now in the disillusionment phase, and more cases of anxiety and depression can be expected in the coming months.
Singapore is now in the disillusionment phase, and more cases of anxiety and depression can be expected in the coming months.PHOTO: ST FILE

The daily expression of gratitude can have a powerful impact on people's overall health and well-being (Experts fear long-term effect on mental health, Aug 20; Driven to breaking point by stress during pandemic, Aug 20).

The habitual expression of gratitude has been shown to increase the production of neurotransmitters important for our general well-being. In other words, it rewires our brain in significant ways.

But how can we ask people today to be thankful when so many are deeply worried, not only about the risk of infection to themselves and their loved ones, but also about loss of work and income or lodgings? Paradoxically, it is precisely the expression of gratitude that can help us prevent negativity from taking over and diminishing our capacity to respond.

We can jot down reasons for being thankful in a journal daily, or write letters of appreciation. And don't forget little rituals such as lighting a gratitude candle.

The augmentation of mental strength and resilience is immensely relevant for our living creatively and constructively through this demanding time.

Sherman Goh Keng Hwee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2020, with the headline 'Expressing gratitude can boost one's well-being'. Print Edition | Subscribe