December is often hailed as a time of gratitude and giving to others. Altruism brings joy not only to the receiver, but can provide much happiness to those who give. This winter, Brookhaven Retreat encourages women to nurture their emotional health through acts of gratitude.
Women with borderline personality disorder, depression and other mental health issues aggravate their illness through prolonged isolation and negative thought processes. Gratitude can alleviate many of the contributors to depressed mood and encourage women along the road of recovery.
Volunteering connects women with others, helping to build important friendships and relationship skills. A network of support gives women someplace to turn to when their wellness is comprised. It also helps women create feelings of joy and gratitude. Studies show that volunteering reduces isolation, loneliness and creates feelings of satisfaction that encourage positive mood and reduce the risk of depression.
A 2011 Harvard Health Publication reported that gratitude is associated with happiness, positive emotions and improved health. In addition, there have been many other studies to report that the regular practice of gratitude leads to greater life satisfaction and productivity. Including a British study that found volunteers to be significantly happier than those who do not volunteer their time.
Brookhaven Retreat helps the women in its treatment program create a plan for a life worth living. Each aspect of women’s lives is examined during treatment so that they may create lives supportive of recovery. Healthy and supportive social groups and the development of positive emotions encourage this recovery plan.
As the year winds down in December, Brookhaven Retreat encourages all women to plan a routine of giving and gratitude through volunteer work and mindful journaling. Over time, these behaviors and an attitude of gratitude become habit and help maintain the positive emotional changes begun during treatment.