If you are someone who struggles with depression or anxiety, no doubt you’ve had well-meaning folks remind you of all the good in your life, hoping that a little bit of gratitude will go far in raising your spirits.

You might have even had armchair mental-health experts suggest “The Three Good Things” exercise—where an individual thinks of three things that have gone well throughout the day, writes them down, and reflects on them—or similar sorts of seemingly harmless interventions. If seeking solace ingratitude has not worked, you’ll be relieved to learn that a recent study shows that this is normal.

David Cregg, a researcher at Ohio State University, working in collaboration with Professor Jennifer Cleavens of the same institution, has analyzed 27 separate studies examining the effectiveness of gratitude interventions in mitigating symptoms of depression and anxiety. The result? Such interventions offer “limited” benefit at best. 

Cregg and Cleavens, whose work has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, focus their investigation on the two most commonly recommended gratitude interventions: the aforementioned “Three Good Things Exercise” and the “Gratitude Visit.” The latter consists of writing a letter of thanks to a person who has made a difference in one’s life and reading it aloud in his or her presence. 

The impact of these methods on the experience of depression or anxiety was contrasted with that of similar activities unrelated to gratitude. For instance, participants might have written about their daily schedule and read this aloud instead of expressing thanks to a person who has made a difference in their lives. Across the 27 studies, 3,675 individuals participated and gratitude interventions were shown to have little effect on mental health. 

Of course, this does not mean gratitude plays no role in well-being or should not be practiced; rather, the results serve to underscore the fact that treating depression and anxiety is no simple matter. Instead of turning to mechanisms that underestimate the complexity of mental health, Cregg and Cheavens suggest that those suffering pursue treatments that have proven to be effective. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications. 

In instances where tried and true practices fail to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, readers might consider the extraordinary success ketamine infusions have been shown to have in treating these disorders. While not a silver bullet, nor a treatment that should replace your current program, the addition of ketamine infusions to your mental health treatment regimen may well provide relief where it has been difficult or impossible to find it elsewhere. 


Contact Vitalitas Denver

Vitalitas Denver operates some of Colorado’s leading ketamine treatment centers, with clinics located in the Denver and Boulder/Fort Collins areas. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder—if you have tried everything, and nothing has worked—please contact us to learn more about ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression and anxiety.


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