Your Health

Live with gratitude

Live with gratitude

Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, January / February 2011

Taking time to stop and think has more benefits than keeping us out of harm's way. It's also an opportunity for self reflection - a moment to ask ourselves: What really matters?

And that may be the most important step to leading a more fulfilling, healthy life, says Marion Cooper, of the Winnipeg Health Region's Mental Health Promotion program.

Yet the problem with this self check-up from the neck up is most of us tend to focus on what needs to be done and what's going wrong.

"We don't see the positive and we get focused on what's wrong and not working," she says.

Instead, we should take a mental inventory of a different kind. "It's really helpful to focus on gratitude," Cooper says. That's taking stock of what has gone well during our day.

For some people, that can be a tough order, and she says it takes a little bit of practice.

One simple exercise we can all do is to write down at the end of every day for an entire week three events that had positive outcomes.

"If you did that for one week, you would see some benefits such as feeling less depressed and more happiness," she says. "It's not like you're ignoring the challenges that you're faced with, but it shifts your thinking to try to focus on some of the positive things that have happened and being grateful for those things."

Another helpful way to focus on the positives in life is to give back. Volunteer, help a friend or family member or just commit a random act of kindness, Cooper says.

Numerous studies have shown that acting generously has a positive effect on our physical and mental health. A University of British Columbia study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that when people gave money away, they had diminished levels of stress, while those who kept money for themselves experienced higher levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress.

But we don't need a scientist to explain the benefits of being kind to others, Cooper says.

"We're contributing to their well-being, and that in turn can make us feel good - and that reciprocity is very powerful."

For more information, visit


About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

Bookmark Email Print Share this on Facebook SHARE Share this on Twitter Tweet RSS Feeds RSS
Make text smaller Make text bigger
Traditional Territories Acknowledgement
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located on the original lands of Treaty 1 and on the homelands of the Metis Nation. WRHA respects that the First Nation treaties were made on these territories and acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Metis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
Click here to read more about the WRHA's efforts towards reconciliation

WRHA Accessibility Plan Icon
Wait Times
View the Winnipeg Health Region's current approximate Emergency Department and Urgent Care wait times.

View wait times
Find Services
Looking for health services in Winnipeg?

Call Health Links-Info Sante at 788-8200

Search 211 Manitoba

Explore alternatives to emergency departments at Healing Our Health System

Find a Doctor
Mobile App
Use your phone to find information about wait times and health services in Winnipeg. Download the Connected Care mobile app for iPhone today!

Learn more
Wave Magazine
The September / October 2018 issue of Wave, Winnipeg's health and wellness magazine, is now available online.

Read more
Contact Us
Do you have any comments or concerns?

Click here to contact us
The Winnipeg Health Region has a variety of career opportunities to suit your unique goals and needs.

Visit our Careers site
WRHA Logo Help| Terms of Use | Contact Us | En français