Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Since this season is all about thanks, why not chat about the amazing benefits of a daily gratitude practice!
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is often associated with thankfulness, appreciation and kindness, which is all true. However, gratitude goes deeper by centering us in the here and now. When we're grateful for what we have in the present, the mind is less likely to ruminate on the past or worry about the future.
The little everyday things start to take center stage like making it to work with no stoplights or walking to class on a beautiful day. The blessings that make life so special and are always right in front of us, finally come into view.
Our society is so focused on more, more, more that we forget how to stop for a moment and see the beauty around us. The phrase, "stop and smell the roses" is something we all need to do more of.
Take my dog, Daisy, for an example. She is almost 16 years old and LOVES her evening walks. Seriously, this little pup gets so excited to go for her neighborhood walk! She stops to smell every flower, every rose bush, every mailbox, every stop sign. She takes it all in and savors it.
Now, back to us humans.....do we savor life? Do we take the time to appreciate life's beauty that is around us all the time or do we take it for granted?
It's easy for us to get caught in the trap of negativity and end up missing the blessings in front of us. Teaching ourselves to exercise gratitude daily can help break the cycle of pessimisticism. It propels us into making those necessary mental shifts to change our mindset into a more peaceful and joy-filled space.
How Gratitude Shifts Our Mindset
Gratitude changes the focus of the lens we view life. It wakes us up as we realize we are doing pretty good if the thing bothering us the most right now is that we have to wait 5 mins in the checkout line.
Those minor annoyances and complaints start to become comical as our perspective shifts. More joy fills our cup instead of allowing all our energy to be drained. This has been one of the most significant shifts in my personal mindset.
Practicing gratitude daily has helped me form a new habit of finding the silver lining. Now when a wrench gets thrown in my plans, I stop to think about what I can take away from the situation to put in my gratitude journal later in the day, and I always find something!
The Practice of Gratitude and Positive Psychology
We can truly change our mood and overall sense of well-being with gratitude. In fact, positive psychology studies are showing a strong connection between showing gratitude and increased feelings of happiness, better connections in relationships, and resiliency.
But let's be real here, most of us know showing gratitude is good, right? Not many people count their blessings and feel worse than before.
So, we have this knowledge but we rarely do much with it, which is why starting a gratitude practice is key to implementing this wisdom into our daily lives. And the great news is that a daily gratitude practice doesn't have to take a ton of time!
It can take 5 mins, so why not reap the added joy gratitude brings. Plus, it's contagious! Nothing attracts people more than a person glowing with joy.
So, how to practice gratitude daily? I got three options for ya:
My personal favorite is this method. You can use a journal or notebook and write 5 things you are grateful for or you can use this awesome 5-year long journal called The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin - highly recommend!
I love this journal so much! It's one of my favorite things I own. You write a sentence a day for 5 years, so you can write your 5 blessings from the day and look back as each year goes by with extra gratitude! I personally do this every night to unwind before bed.
Take 5 mins to focus on your blessings and send gratitude out into the world.
For those who may not be as fortunate to have the blessings you have, send love to them in hope they too can experience gratitude for what you're experiencing one day.
Feel the light and warmth fill your spirit.
In the car as you're driving, count your 5 daily blessings.
At family dinner, everyone can share what they're grateful for that day.
If you pray, share your 5 daily blessings during your prayer time.
So put out that good energy, and you'll get that love back multiplied. Plus, it'll affect those around you and maybe open their eyes to the beauty around them too!
If you found this article helpful, let me know in the comments section what stood out to you! I'd love to hear which of the 3 daily practices you're going to try or let me know on social by tagging me on Instagram @monicanedeff.rdn