There are many protective factors against depression and mental illness.

Perhaps the most surprising?  A common trait of those who recover more quickly and more fully from a depressive episode is GRATITUDE.

“Appreciation is the strongest form of love. When in a state of appreciation, messages from the amygdala (our brain’s fear center) don’t register” (source below). 

This is SCIENCE guys.

So, if you need a lift in your mood, I would encourage the simple practice of keeping a gratitude journal. 

Buy a new notebook for this. 

Or use one you already have.

Or scribble on old Target receipts or a McDonald’s bag. 

Use what you have, and turn it into a record of gratitude.

Writing down even just 3 things daily will do wonders for reducing anxiety/depression, NOT because your circumstances have changed, but because your outlook has changed.

It goes back to the rationale for why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is so effective. Change the way you THINK, and you’ll change the way you FEEL.

“The best way to overcome fear is with love.”


Sources (in a readable, less-formal format)

How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain by Christian Jarrett (

Integrative Psychiatry by Dr. Daniel Monti

Strength-based positive interventions: Further evidence for their potential in enhancing well-being and alleviating depression by Gander-Rene, et. al.