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How to Make Gratitude a Daily Practice

Gratitude is an appreciation for what we have or receive, whether tangible or intangible. When we express gratitude, we acknowledge the goodness in our lives and that many of the things we possess, rely on, appreciate, and enjoy would not be possible without the work and existence of others. This awareness helps us connect to something greater—whether our community, nature, or a higher power. Imagine a world where we woke up joyful because of the feeling of gratitude for instant access to clean water at the turn of a knob. How would that simple yet powerful appreciation change how we perceive and interact with life? Expressing gratitude is one of the quickest ways to see positive results in our mental, physical, and emotional health. Paying attention to what is already good in our lives can bring us more happiness.

Benefits of Expressing Gratitude

Expressing gratitude has many proven benefits, including improved physical and psychological health such as: ● Reduce stress ● Build mental stamina ● Alleviate symptoms of depression ● Improve self-esteem ● Increase optimism and happiness ● Improve heart health ● Reduce blood pressure ● Improve sleep patterns ● Reduce inflammation ● Prevent chronic illness ● Improve psychological well-being ● Increase self-esteem ● Improve decision-making ● Build healthier relationships

How to Express Gratitude.

We reap the benefits of gratitude by embodying a grateful attitude daily. Through regular practice and commitment, gratitude can become a part of your day-to-day life.

Count Your Blessings Studies have shown that writing down our blessings each day can increase feelings of optimism, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. The original 2003 study by the American Psychological Association confirmed the connection between gratitude and well-being. The study reported that those who wrote down their blessings for ten weeks reported fewer physical complaints, increased wellbeing, and overall positive affect. Gratitude is a choice we make every day. We can start counting our blessings as soon as we wake up. It is easy to overlook what we already have in our lives. Starting the day with an attitude of gratitude sets the stage for more positivity to flow into our lives. If you are healthy, have a roof over your head, food to eat, and are not in danger, bring intentional awareness to those blessings. When we start to notice the good in our lives, it creates space for us to experience more positivity. On the other hand, when we spend most of our time complaining about what we do not have, we experience more lack in our lives. Pick a time each day to reflect on what went well or what you are grateful for. Setting a minimum number, such as three or five things, that you will identify on your list is helpful. Be specific and describe the sensations you experienced when something good happened.

Practice Gratitude Meditation Meditation is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment without judgment. A Gratitude Meditation sets aside time for appreciating the goodness we have in our lives. You may choose to start by meditating on what you are grateful for, then bring attention to the people and circumstances that have enabled you to get to where you are today. Reflecting on any form of growth allows you to generate a sense of gratitude. Determining a time of day to meditate is entirely up to you. You may prefer to meditate in the morning to set you up with an optimistic attitude or in the evening to provide a chance to reflect on your day. You may even decide to do both. Studies have shown that even short meditations on gratitude can increase well-being and happiness. If you feel that you have limited time to devote to the practice, consider an opportunity to meditate while waiting for your coffee to brew, walking outside, or sitting or lying down for five minutes.

Share Your Gratitude with Others Expressing gratitude for others can strengthen your relationships. Next time someone does something you appreciate, thank them and be specific. You may choose to communicate this in person, through email, or a handwritten note. It’s important and valuable to notice and appreciate the small things too. It will mean a lot to that person that you noticed what they did and strengthen your bond with them. For example, “I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question,” or “It meant a lot that you took the trash out when it was full.” Studies have shown that the impact of writing letters of gratitude goes far beyond the receiver. In one study, people were asked to write a gratitude letter once a week. After three weeks, they were significantly happier, less depressed, and more satisfied with their lives. To increase happiness in your life, write a letter of gratitude to someone for a specific kind act or a gift they gave you that you have not thanked them for yet.

Expressing Gratitude

Regardless of how you choose to express gratitude, all practices include a form of acknowledgment and recognition of the goodness in our lives, help us appreciate what we have, and create space for more positivity in our and others’ lives.


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