Scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Focus on the positive things in your life and remind yourself that even when life is challenging, good things are still around you. With a regular gratitude practice you may begin to notice how the challenges have helped you gain insight or grow as a person.
FEEL AND EXPRESS GRATITUDE AS A REGULAR PRACTICE AND YOU WILL SEE YOUR LIFE IS EXTRAORDINARY.
I started a daily practice of gratitude in October of 2014. At first, it was a conscious daily action to write in a journal with the intention of creating a habit. Now, my gratitude is sometimes a thought when I first wake up in the morning, a note in my journal or a post it on my desk at work. Thoughts and expressions of gratitude sets the tone for my day and creates a mindset that makes whatever challenges I face throughout the day less physically and mentally draining.
Begin each day by writing down everything you’re grateful for in a journal. It’s a wonderful way to start the day and create an overall feeling of contentment and happiness about life. A morning gratitude practice also sets the tone and establishes a positive outlook for the day ahead of you. And, if that isn’t reason enough to develop an daily attitude of gratitude, scientific studies have shown the power of positive thinking can affect our overall health.
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated.
2 psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough have completed studies on gratitude and in one study found that, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. And, you might be surprised to know, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Emmons and McCullough also reported, participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
Brene Bown, scholar, author and public speaker, said, “without exception, every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice.”
Use a journal if that’s your thing. Or, spice up your gratitude practice with different types. Choose two, three, or all of the ideas below. They’re all beneficial, so choose those that most resonate with you, and feel free to “mix it up”.
Maybe start with committing to 3-4 days a week and go from there.
The best gratitude practice for you is the one you will stick with!
10 WAYS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE TODAY:
- Start your day with a grateful heart. First thing after you wake up, acknowledge what you’re grateful for.
- Send a handwritten thank you letter by mail or deliver in person.
- Meditate, focusing on the present moment without judgement.
- Look into a mirror and say out loud, “I’m thankful for you.”
- Reach out to someone that changed your life and share your gratitude for them.
- Donate your money or time to a charity.
- Spend 5 minutes with your hand on your heart, appreciating you and your life.
- Notice the beauty of the things you see everyday, a sunset, a sunrise, green grass, flowers and blue skies.
- Remember the difference between wants and needs.
- Post words, photos or objects of gratitude around your home. Download the printables below and keep them where you will see them often.
However you choose to express your gratitude keep it simple making it easier to maintain consistently.
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WHAT’S ONE THING YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR TODAY? HAVE YOU STARTED A REGULAR PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE? WHAT’S THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO STAYING CONSISTENT IN YOUR PRACTICE?
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