There are so many health benefits and reasons why you should start a gratitude practice, and we will go over them in this blog post. Taking the time to be thankful on a monthly, weekly and daily basis will force you to focus and reflect on every situation and see the positive take on it. This time of reflection will encourage you to earn from your mistakes and take steps to improve your mind and life. Studies have shown that those who regularly practice gratitude experience the following:
- More positive emotions
- Sleep better
- Have more compassion
- Have a stronger state of mind
What is a Gratitude Practice?
A gratitude practice is a time you set aside to reflect on your everyday life. Like every habit, this practice takes time to cultivate.
It’s during your time of gratitude reflection when you look for moments and things you may take for granted if you weren’t paying attention. Did you wake up on time? Did you remember a tight deadline? Did your child give you an unprompted hug? A gratitude practice not only focuses on the positive, but it’s decided time set aside to acknowledge and process difficult moments. Is there something you can be grateful for your current hardship(s)? For example, did you become closer a loved one during a time you needed guidance? Gratitude practices help you redirect your attention towards the future, and how you can learn through life’s circumstances.
What Are Some Examples of Gratitude Practices?
Journaling can be a great way to organize your thoughts, experiences and can become a great time to reflect on your life. Taking time to write down your thoughts can create a safe space to reflect and work through your everyday life. Keeping a journal helps you to focus and is a daily written reminder of your life.
For me, journaling is a daunting task. Other than blogging, I don’t take time in my day-to-day life to a journal. But, I know when I’ve done this in the past I have found it to be helpful and fulfilling. I have found joy and peace looking back on previous months and years to see what I’ve learned along the way.
Journals don’t have to be a traditional pen and paper. I find that I can keep track of my thoughts of thanksgiving on the go with apps like notes, Google Docs, and Google Keep. I encourage you to find a practice that works for you and your lifestyle.
Running or Walking
Going outside and moving is a great way to break up your day. Not only is it great for your health, but moving is a way to break up your routine and allows you time for reflection. During your run or walk you can take time and reflect on why you’re grateful – even if you’re having a bad day. If you need help finding a practice that works for you, I highly recommend listing to the Alison Show’s gratitude practice podcast. Alison and Eric walk you through their gratitude practice and provide you with an example of one you can implement in your life.
Set a Daily Reminder
I love setting reminders on my phone. I set alerts for events, to-dos and habit checklist. Setting a reminder is a way you can remember each day to take the time to stop, think, reflect and be grateful. Just remember, it’s easy to set an alert and ignore it. So pick a time during the day when you usually have downtime, so you’re less likely to ignore the reminder. For example, your daily commute is a great time!
Stay Present in the Moment
Everyone is busy. We all are overbooked, tired and are probably overwhelmed with one or more things in our life. Instead of planning ahead and thinking about what you need to do in the next hour, week or month. Take time to slow down and stay present at the moment. That might mean putting down your phone, so you can stay focused on the conversation, or pay attention to the imaginary world your children are creating around you.
Intentionally Sharing Gratitude with Other
Have you received a compliment from someone you didn’t know? How did it make you feel? When this happens to me, it usually catches me off guard (sad right?), but I really appreciate it. Throughout your day, try to slow down and notice what others are doing around you. Did someone go out of their way to help you on a project? Was the cashier extra helpful or friendly? Are you loving what the person in front of you in the checkout line is wearing? Tell them! Try to say thank you more, smile and give out compliments. Not only will those around you appreciate it, but it will help you to notice the small things in life.
Take Time to Reflect
Reflection is the most important part of your gratitude practice. This active cultivates a sense of self-awareness and provides you with the time to ponder your circumstances and situations.
Did you know that on average, it can take up to 2 months to form a habit? Over the next month, I am completing a gratitude challenge. Are you interested in joining me? If so, you can learn more about my weekly goals and download my free gratitude practice guide in this blog post.