Gratitude Daily Practice – 3 Simple Suggestions
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated this Thursday in the U.S., but I think giving thanks should really be a daily practice. A gratitude habit can help you live more mindfully and make a difference in your long-term happiness.
3 Ways to Practice Gratitude in Your Daily Life
1. Journal gratitude.
One of the easiest, simplest way to make thanks giving a daily part of your life is by using a journal. It doesn’t need to be fancy, a simple notebook or even scrap paper works too. Use it either at the start of your day, or at the end. Write down three to five things you feel appreciation for. It can be as simple as gratitude for a sunny morning, or more complicated if that’s what comes to mind first.
Don’t over think it, just make your list. You may find that what ends up on the list are not the things you’d expect. A gratitude journal can help you realize that every day is a good day, at least in some ways, and that the things that bring meaning and joy to your life are not the things you usually give the most significance or the lion share of your energy to (like work, money, errands, or material items).
“Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.” – Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher, best-selling author
There’s something very intentional about the mechanics of writing your gratitude, as opposed to simply thinking it. You are employing more of your senses when you write your gratitude list each day; invoking your sense of touch as you use muscles to move the pen, your sense of sight as you watch what you’re writing, and your mind participates to consider what to write.
“Positive thinking opens your eyes to more opportunities.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits
Using a journal for your gratitude practice is like a mini meditation; while you’re focused on this one task, it involves so much of your mind in those moments that it helps to refocus and reset your otherwise scattered attention.
2. Send thanks.
Saying thank you is such an underrated act of spreading love and positive energy.
“Seeing with grateful eyes requires that we see the web of interconnection in which we alternate between being givers and receivers,” – Robert Emmons, co-director of the Greater Good Science Center
When is the last time you sent an unexpected thank you card? Like, physically mailed a card of gratitude to someone special in your life… not a thank you for a gift, but a thank you note to tell someone you appreciate them, you love having them in your life, that you treasure their friendship, that you are grateful for the little things they do for you or others.
“When you are grateful, fear disappears, and abundance appears.” – Tony Robbins, entrepreneur, best-selling author, business strategist
It doesn’t have to be a note card (although that is the super thoughtful), it can be a random text, or email, or a phone call works too. You have no idea, or maybe you do, how meaningful and profound this little act is. To both you and the recipient. It can have far-reaching effects on your entire day and theirs as well. Never let loving words go left unsaid.
And although you don’t give thanks while expecting anything in return, the law of attraction sends those high vibrations out into the universe and bounces back the same kind of good mojo to you.
“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency and you will attract much better things.” – Rhonda Byrne, The Secret
You may find that the more you express gratitude, the more you have to be grateful for, the more unexpected opportunities come to you, and the more elevated your mood becomes more often.
3. Exercise your gratitude muscles.
You already know that physical exercise is good for you, but maybe you didn’t realize that flexing your gratitude muscles each day may also improve your health.
It’s doesn’t take a medical study to know that when you feel thankful, you feel better. It’s impossible to feel grateful and also feel horrible in the same exact moment. And we all know there is a link between our emotions and thoughts and our physical body. i.e., haven’t we all had the instant stomachache when we get upset or anxious?
So, I don’t think you need proof, but I thought this was interesting so I’ll share: In a study of people with heart disease, Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that there are potential long term physical health benefits of gratitude. The study found that those who reported a gratitude mindset were less depressed, had more energy, and slept better.
The study also showed that the participants had lower levels of both inflammation and plaque buildup. In a follow up study, Mills found that those people who used a gratitude journal for only two months had significantly reduced their risk of heart disease when compared to the start of the study.
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha
Building any habit takes effort, but the returns of a daily gratitude practice are not only instant, but they are also multiplied over time, so give it a try and see how it makes you feel. Not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day.
Wishing you a high vibe week full of wonder, appreciation, and daily thanks giving! – Marlene
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