Ways to Practice Gratitude – Simple Guide!
The benefits of having a daily gratitude practice are nearly endless. This is a simple practice but the challenge is taking the time to integrate it into your daily life.
It can take 21 days to form a habit and then it will become more second nature. Committing to taking time each day to notice and reflect on the things that have gone well during the day, that you are thankful for increases your health and well-being.
The practice of gratitude has been studied in the field of positive psychology the study of what makes life worth living.
Gratitude has become a positive psychology intervention that is used in several settings. Research in this field has found that the practice of being thankful in life is strongly associated with well-being and happiness.
Gratitude facilitates “meaning- finding” in our ordinary life events which is fuel for psychological resilience.
The practice of gratitude has been found to increase positive emotions, altruistic behaviour, and reduce physical complaints, stress, depression, and worry.
Indeed research has found that gratitude is linked to all levels of well-being and has become a popular intervention that fosters positive functioning and psychological strengths.
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Ways to practice gratitude
Taking time to appreciate the good things in the world can easily be built into your daily life. Here are some simple steps to help you cultivate a daily gratitude practice:
We always seem to resist what is good for us. You may not always feel motivated to complete this practice but do it anyway. Don’t let excuses get in your way. It will still have benefits even if you have to force yourself some days. Commit to doing this daily and it will soon become a habit like brushing your teeth.
It may be helpful to pick a time each day that you will complete your gratitude practice. It may be first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening.
Once you have a schedule made for yourself take out a journal either in paper format or you can use your computer and begin.
You can start with, “I am grateful for…”
This can be difficult in the beginning to connect to the things you are grateful especially if your life is not what you would like it to look like.
There are always things in our life that are going well. It may be just that you are breathing, that you showered, maybe a smile on a stranger’s face, etc.
Try to find new things each day you can be grateful for rather than just repeating the same things each day.
Tap into your creativity. Again, this may feel odd when you first start. You have just planted a seed and with nurturing this practice it will blossom.
3. Feel it
Allow yourself to feel grateful not just in your mind but in your body. Feel the warmth of appreciation, love, and connection.
Allow it to seep into your pores as you embody it. Place a hand on your heart as you feel your body being lifted as it radiates through you.
You may not always be able to feel gratitude in an embodied way but when you do savour it. Allow it to fill your heart and use its energy as fuel in your life.
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4. Continue even after you start to see results
Too often people take a break from the practice once they start to see results. When one does this the results also begin to diminish.
Commit to making this a lifelong practice. You may miss a day here and there as you are only human but just continue to come back consciously noticing and reflecting on what is going well in your life and what you are thankful for.
Be creative with your practice
Finding new and creative ways to integrate gratitude into your everyday life can keep things fun. The field of positive psychology has outlined many different gratitude practices that you can find here.
It is important that you make this practice your own and so it has personal meaning for you.
We should not do things because we believe we should when it does not resonate with this. There are indeed several things you can do to improve your health and happiness, but it is up to you to put your signature on it, make it meaningful to you and you will reap even more rewards.
Need help with what to write in your journal? Then see these 50 gratitude journal prompts that we have put together:
Incorporate gratitude into your mediation
Gratitude meditation is simply the practice of reflecting on the things in our lives we’re grateful for. It’s about experiencing that feeling of appreciation, whether for a loving family member or friend, a beautiful sunny day, or the pleasure of a good cup of coffee.
It can be for things large or small- perhaps a successful recovery from an injury or illness, or a tough life lesson you weathered, where you came out the other side stronger and more confident.
It’s easy to get caught up in current events and the negativity of the news cycle, but in fact those things often have little to do with who we are and how we experience the world on a day-to-day basis. A grateful meditation is not about becoming desensitised to suffering or social injustice, it’s a way of bringing us back to a place of personal reflection.
See our post below for the benefits a meditation practice can have on when implemented into your daily routine:
The below channels on YouTube are great for guided meditations;
If you want to learn about meditation, the follow channel is excellent:
If you’re interested in learning more in-depth about meditation, then the below books are excellent:
Share your gratitude practice
Our relationships can be the source of our greatest happiness. Incorporating people into your practice can help boost your experience.
You can partner with someone which will help keep you accountable and motivate you on the days you may struggle with the practice.
It may also help to see what other people have written as part of their practice making it easier to also notice those things in your life.
Sharing the things, we are grateful for with our family and friends can have several additional benefits. This can be a practice that is also built into family routines such as before dinner or at breakfast.
Another way to boost the influence of gratitude is a gratitude letter. This involves writing a letter to someone who had a positive impact on your life that you have never thanked properly.
You can send this letter to them or visit them and read it to them. Too often we fail to thank the people who have added value to our lives.
Taking the time to formally express this to them expands the reaches of your gratitude practice. Bringing more care and love into this world is a very powerful thing, do not think this is trivial, it is grand.
Benefits of a gratitude practice
There are so many different benefits you can accumulate from this practice. It has been proven to have a positive impact on your psychological and physical health.
People report fewer pains and aches and report greater health with more exercise and doctor check-ups than those who do not practice. It also has been shown to improve your quality of sleep.
It can help you improve your self-esteem and helps you make better friendships. Research shows that thanking an acquittance makes them more likely to seek a lasting relationship with you.
It also enhances your empathy and reduces aggression. Gratitude lessens your likelihood of holding grudges again others but instead offers more room for forgiveness and understanding.
Grateful people also increase their mental strength which can help boost their resiliency and ability to bounce back after highly distressing situations.
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Ways to practice gratitude – Final thought
Let’s be real for a second. It’s impossible to be grateful all the time. Sometimes we experience seasons in our life when gratitude is a struggle.
People who practice gratitude will still experience sadness or other negative emotions. This is all normal and you should never feel guilty for not being grateful all the time.
Let’s start today’s gratitude practice, what are YOU grateful for today?
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