Practicing gratitude can have many benefits, ranging from improving your mental health to deepening relationships. Gratitude is linked with numerous positive health benefits, but do you know how to practice gratitude that gives you all those benefits? Let’s look at it together.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Let’s first review some of the main benefits you can experience after you start practicing gratitude. Following are just a few of them:
- Improved mental and physical health
- Stronger relationships
- Greater sense of overall well-being
- Reduced levels of stress and anxiety
- More happiness and pleasure
- Better sleep
- Increased immunity
- Promotes positive change
What is a gratitude practice?
A gratitude practice is any activity that helps you focus on and appreciate the good things in your life. Gratitude journaling, expressing gratitude to others, and meditation are popular ways to practice gratitude.
Starting a gratitude practice can take some time and effort. Try out some different ways to practice gratitude and see what works the best for your lifestyle.
How often you practice gratitude is up to you. Some people like to practice gratitude several times a day, while others prefer to do it once a week or even once a month. The important thing is to make it a habit and find a way to integrate it into your life to become second nature.
Here are some more ways how you can practice gratitude:
- Thinking about someone you’re grateful for
- Writing a letter of appreciation
- Saying a silent thank you
- Visualizing what it would feel like to receive a gratitude letter
- Listing things you’re grateful for in your journal
- Thinking about a time when you felt appreciated
- Recalling a memory of someone doing something kind for you
Ways to Practice Gratitude
The best way to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, list five things you’re grateful for. It can be something like the sun shining or your favorite coffee mug. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you pay attention to small details and things you are grateful for.
A gratitude journal helps you notice the good in people and life in general. You slowly start to gain a positive outlook on life and find creative ways to take a moment to feel gratitude. Research shows that grateful people are happier and combat stress with ease. Writing down the things you are grateful for every day helps you change neural patterns in your brain.
Here are some of the ways you can use daily gratitude journaling:
- Write as often as you can
- Write about specific incidents and how they made you feel. You can pick an event from today or the past. You can even write a “thank you” note to your future self or someone else for something you would be grateful for.
- Write about special occasions.
- Write about the moments when you feel proud of yourself for the growth over a period of time.
A great way to practice gratitude is to express it to people in your life. Sharing gratitude with your family members, children, and other loved ones is a great way to show them how much you appreciate them and all they do for you.
The best part? You gain all the above-listed benefits from this act. Thanking a family member, your kids, your spouse, or other people not only makes them feel good, but it also makes you feel good. When you express gratitude, you are actually training your brain to focus on the positive aspects of your life, which can lead to increased happiness and satisfaction.
Take the time to write a thank-you note, letter, or send a text message expressing your appreciation. You can also tell someone how much you appreciate them in person.
A key ingredient of gratitude is mindfulness, or being aware of the present moment. You can choose to pay attention to little things in your life that are positive at any given moment.
One way to make gratitude a daily practice is to set a reminder on your phone or computer. Every day, at a certain time, you can take a few minutes to reflect on what you’re grateful for.
Another way is to integrate gratitude into your existing routines. Here are some ways you can incorporate gratitude into the daily routine:
- Say thank you before each meal. I learned this technique when I started to have digestive problems.
- Feel gratitude for your healthy body when you exercise.
- Feel grateful each time you get to spend quality time with your child.
- Savor the moment when you are with your loved ones on a special occasion by just being mindful of all the little things present in that moment.
- Appreciate hot water while taking a shower.
- Say “thank you” to yourself each time you survive a long and hard day at work or school. This tactic literally saved me in my graduate school.
You can also put up sticky notes with positive messages in strategic places, such as your bathroom mirror, fridge, or car steering wheel, to help you remember to focus on the good in life.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, but find a way to remind yourself to think about things you’re grateful for every day. Practicing gratitude daily can profoundly impact your life, making you happier, more resilient, and less stressed.
What happens when you practice gratitude?
In a study, participants were asked to write a thankful note once a week for six weeks in one study. The results showed that people who wrote the thankful notes felt happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who didn’t write them. The participants also reported feeling less depressed, anxious, and stressed.
- Gratitude helps you get rid of toxic emotions
- Gratitude affects your brain for the better
- Gratitude takes time to benefit you, but it is worth the investment.
The bottom line?
Gratitude is good for you! So make sure to add gratitude to your life! Practicing gratitude can improve your mental and physical health, deepen relationships, and increase overall well-being. There are many different ways to practice gratitude, so find one that works for you and make it a part of your daily routine. Thanks for reading!
If you haven’t already, sign up for my weekly newsletter for more tips and tricks to practice gratitude, mindfulness techniques, and how to keep a positive mindset.