Practising gratitude is proven to improve your mental health as well as your relationships. As part of our Love YOU campaign we sat down with GPs, Doctor Farhana and Doctor Liam ahead of Valentine’s Day to talk to them about their new wellness app Gratitube.
Following years of working as GPs in the NHS what made you start this new venture Gratitube alongside your already busy schedules?
Liam: Even before the pandemic we were seeing more and more people coming to us with difficulties with low mood and stress. It was impacting all aspects of their lives. The pandemic exacerbated this, and even those of us who had been relatively unscathed previously started to see cracks appear. I love the direct relationship I have with patients in the consulting room, but we wanted to provide tools for people to help take action to improve their mental health on a bigger scale.
Farhana: Echoing what Liam said, I was seeing firsthand rising numbers of patients struggling with their wellbeing and more often than not the solutions I was suggesting, like going to the gym more or meditating, just weren’t cutting it. Patients were finding these activities too difficult to habit form and so weren’t getting any long lasting wellbeing benefits. This gave me the feeling that there has to be something out there that works and is more universally appealing, and I wanted to be a part of bringing that to people.
Life in a pandemic has been really tough for so many . What advice have you given your patients, family and friends and does this help you personally too?Liam: It really has been tough for many and I suspect all of us in some way have seen a hit to our mental health over the last couple of years. I found it tough in particular at the start of the pandemic. There was so much uncertainty and we didn't know how the NHS would cope. Farhana and I started to try and look for some positives, even on a small level: what had gone well in the clinic that day? Did an amazing receptionist bring us a coffee when we most needed it? We’d naturally started practicing gratitude and started to research the scientific benefits. We got a real boost from it. We recommended friends, family, and patients take a few minutes out of their day to reflect upon what they are grateful for and the positive feedback was overwhelming!
Farhana: I try to always follow the advice that I give others. My three tips during this pandemic are to stay connected to nature, others, and to yourself.
It might not always seem obvious how to do this especially during lockdowns, but even a simple connection is a connection nonetheless.
We might not always be able to travel to areas of natural beauty but being in our local park, going for a walk along the river, or even having lots of plants at home can feed our connection to the natural world.
Staying connected to others has probably involved a lot of zoom during this pandemic but I think it is important to schedule in regular contact with our loved ones by whatever means. Even saying hi to a stranger when passing them on your walk can help with our wellbeing.
In terms of a connection to oneself, what I mean by this is doing something which allows you to relax, reflect or grow. For me this is practising gratitude each day. This is my happiest place.
So tell us, what exactly is Gratitube?
Liam: Gratitube is a video based journaling app which helps you to practice gratitude. It is designed to be simple and easy to use for just a few minutes a day. You record a video relating to 1-3 things they are grateful for and why. (Don’t forget to turn on the notifications which come in the form of affirmations, quotes, and wellbeing tips). If you’re ever struggling for inspiration there are prompts via an ‘inspire me’ button. One much loved feature is the calendar view where you can look back on previous entries. I know whenever I'm feeling a little bit low it's a great pick-me-up to look back on things I’ve been grateful for in the past. The app also provides personal and trending community insights so you can see what our Gratitube community has been grateful for. Sharing our gratitude with others benefits both us and the recipient. Gratitube enables you to send videos to others (should you wish) to spread positivity. I always send a Gratitube video to my friends on their birthday telling them why I'm grateful for them (I've even got a few back!)
What benefits should one expect from practising gratitude?
Farhana: As doctors, we are pretty astounded by the vast array of benefits gratitude practice has on all aspects of our wellbeing. I’ll mention a few of my faves.
Studies show that just by practising gratitude once a week we can become up to 25% happier. And that is just by practising only once a week. In fact, you don’t need to put in much time to feel the benefits of gratitude practice. 85% of the users of our app noticed an improvement in their wellbeing within 3 weeks from just using Gratitube for 1 minute a day!
Gratitude practice can help us to sleep more soundly and for longer - now who doesn’t want that? Gratitude practice has been shown to improve sleep quality by 25% and help us to remain soundly under the covers for an extra 30 minutes compared to those who do not practice regularly.
In a world where a lot of people struggle with their self esteem, gratitude practice can not only boost this for us, but it also helps us to stop comparing ourselves to other people. Everyone knows that comparisons can really drag us down in life.
And with Valentine’s day approaching let it be known that practising gratitude improves the overall level of satisfaction in our romantic relationships, with the effects lasting for months after the practice.
Where can our members try your app?
Farhana: You can download Gratitube in the App Store, by clicking on the icon below.
We would love to keep you updated about the app and all wonderful things related to gratitude and wellbeing, so please do also sign up to our mailing list at www.gratitube.app
And finally, what are your favourite pieces on www.thesampleroom.store ?
Liam: It’s such a great site. I love the mission and the message around sustainability. I’ve recently moved flat and the living room definitely needs a bit of sprucing up and colour. I really like the Samarkand design cushions and I think the acid yellow hand woven cushion would really lighten up the room.
Farhana: There’s so much stuff I love on here! I’m also a total magpie for gold jewellery and find dressing up a great mood enhancer so love the Assya London Blue Topaz & Diamond Crystal Necklace.