Many of us combat depression, whether situational or chronic. It can be particularly difficult around the holidays or in the cold winter months. When medication and therapy aren’t enough, what other options can help to ease your depression? We spoke with Deborah Hawkins about the method that ultimately helped her: intentional gratitude. On our new podcast, she shares how being intentionally grateful can help with your mental health and boost confidence.
Watch our podcast with Deborah Hawkins to learn about how you can apply intentional gratitude in your life:
Deborah Hawkins has been blogging on gratitude and mindfulness since 2010, posting over 500 reflections on everyday experiences that have elevated her mood along with tips on how to keep gratitude “top of mind.” Initially, she began this practice to work her way out of depression. Now, it is her mission to show people how they can examine their own experiences of gratitude and use this understanding to lift their mood and live happier lives. Referring to her approach as “intentional gratitude,” she offers practical tools and examples that help people find resiliency during challenging times and optimize good feelings when things seem to be going their way.
Deborah’s two books, The Best of No Small Thing – Mindful Meditations and Practice Gratitude: Transform Your Life — Making the Uplifting Experience of Gratitude Intentional, along with her zoom-enabled class, “Helium for Your Heart: Elevate Your Outlook With Intentional Gratitude,” demonstrate a fresh approach to a gratitude practice that is fun, authentic, and confidence-boosting. Her personal story, which includes childhood trauma and depression, is relatable and inspiring.
To start our discussion, Deborah shares more about the journey that led her to writing books about mindfulness and gratitude practices. As she describes, she faced some hardships and traumas in her childhood, resulting in lowered confidence. This carried over into her adult life, manifesting as depression. It was after some low points that Deborah started a new path, one that involved blogging and focusing on the things for which she was most grateful. In time, she noticed the marked improvement this had on her, and now she helps others go through the same transformation.
What exactly is a gratitude practice? Deborah explains here, also sharing how she developed hers over time. She describes how her gratitude practice is unique, and perhaps not like others you may have encountered. With attention and dedication, you, too, can develop a gratitude practice that works for you.
Deborah also reveals how your gratitude practice can help with depression. Consider what symptoms come with depression: lowered energy, sadness and apathy, feelings of isolation, hopelessness. Intentional gratitude pushes you to notice what things bring you joy, peace, or contentment. By becoming more aware of these items, you can look for them in your everyday life. Just that little pick-me-up can do wonders for your mood and outlook. Over time, this can lead to better days and weeks.
Of course, if you have depression, it can be particularly hard to feel grateful at all, and thus difficult to begin a gratitude practice. Deborah herself had depression, and it wasn’t easy to start on this path. But with patience and effort, it can be a method that eases your depression. Deborah offers examples of how she overcome those initial hurdles to get started on her practice.
A key component of a gratitude practice is gratitude themes. What are those, and how can someone practicing intentional gratitude discover their personal gratitude themes? Deborah ends our podcast with more about these themes, how to uncover them, and how to dissect particular memories of joy to pinpoint your gratitude themes. You will have several – say, 10 – that will be strongest in bringing you a sense of gratitude.
To find out more about gratitude themes and starting a gratitude practice, listen to our podcast with Deborah below:
Additionally, Deborah has a special holiday promotion on now. If you purchase either of her books from Amazon, you will have the opportunity to receive a promo code enabling you to invite a guest for FREE when you register for “Helium for Your Heart,” two-session zoom class. Learn more here.
Petite2Queen is a virtual mentoring community for women who want more out of life and their careers. We are women who have been there, done that… and women who are in it with you. Our virtual mentoring series, podcasts, blogs, and more provide real-life learning, insights, and transferrable skills. Create your own amazing life!