Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude

by The Cooperative
Gratitude is the act of appreciating the gifts we receive in life. When practicing gratitude, we radiate positive emotion toward the people, places, memories, and objects that bring us joy. Gratitude rewires our brain to perceive more goodness and helps us overcome any barriers or challenges we may encounter. Rather than focusing on the negative, we strengthen our appreciation of the positive.
Gratitude can be practiced anytime or anywhere you prefer, whether you have five minutes or a full hour. Being thankful goes beyond significant accomplishments as well. You should always delight in small things like your morning coffee. Is the sun shining today? Go ahead, be grateful!
Benefits of Gratitude 
Practicing gratitude regularly can provide a variety of physical, mental, and social benefits:
  1. Reduces stress and anxiety: Gratitude helps shift the focus from negative thoughts and worries to positive experiences and emotions, which can reduce stress and anxiety.
  2. Improves relationships: Expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships and increase feelings of closeness and connection with others.
  3. Boosts resilience: Gratitude has been shown to increase resilience and help people cope with difficult times.
  4. Enhances mood: Focusing on the positive aspects of life can improve mood and increase feelings of happiness and contentment.
  5. Improves sleep: Gratitude has been linked to better sleep quality, which can improve overall health and well-being.
  6. Increases empathy: Gratitude can increase empathy and compassion towards others, improving social interactions and relationships.
  7. Promotes physical health: Gratitude has been associated with a range of physical health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation, and improved heart health.
Methods of Practice
Practicing gratitude does require patience, and being present in the moment is essential to absorb the full benefits of your experience. If unsure where to begin, observe how often you say “thank you” throughout the day. Use that as a starting point to reflect on what others have done for you.
You can also practice gratitude with the following techniques:
Gratitude Prompts: When in doubt, keep it simple. Practicing with open-ended statements can help you exercise your gratitude muscles. All you need to do is fill in the blanks! The following examples can kickstart your journey:
  • Name five things that make you smile. Who or what makes life more meaningful?
  • Think of a memory you will always cherish. 
  • What are three things you love about yourself?
Gratitude Journaling: Use a journal, notebook, piece of paper, app, or word document to express your thanks in writing. Consistently documenting what you’re grateful for encourages self-awareness and mindfulness. The more “good” you acknowledge, the more you gain clarity and perspective. In fact, you may find yourself prioritizing laughter and generosity over material items.
Gratitude Meditation: Have a spare minute? Clear your mind and focus on being thankful. Allot time in your day to sit quietly, breathe, and express your appreciation. You can play soft music or dim the lights if that speaks to your inner peace. Make the moment your own.
Visual Reminders: If you’re a visual person, express gratitude in a way that appeals to your creativity.
  • Fill a jar with slips of paper that convey your reasons for gratitude. Empty the jar periodically to remind yourself of your blessings.
  • Fill a gratitude box with thoughtful messages and gift it to a loved one.
  • Snap a picture of something you’re grateful for every day. Build a personal collage of your favorite images.  
Expressing gratitude daily can inspire joy and a positive outlook on life. The more you prioritize your mental well-being, the more efficiently you can shower the world with love and compassion.
By, Coach Kaleigh

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