5 Ways to Incorporate Gratitude in your Everyday Life
With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, there is often stress associated with this time of year as the holiday season begins and the school semester comes to a close. However, Thanksgiving represents a day to spend time with family and give thanks for blessings, a practice that should be incorporated into your daily life. Therefore, in celebration of the holiday, it is important to focus on gratitude and the way that being thankful each day can improve your attitude and mindset.
There is even evidence that gratitude can result in greater happiness, more positive emotions, improved health and stronger relationships. A study done by psychologists at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Miami asked participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. One group wrote what they were grateful for during the week, another group wrote about daily irritations or displeasures, and the final group wrote about events that affected them with no emphasis on positives or negatives. After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and happy with their lives.
Gratitude is a way for you to appreciate and focus on what you have, rather than what you lack. Here are five easy ways that take only a few minutes out of your day to practice gratitude and improve your well-being.
Write down 3–5 things that you are grateful for each day. This can be done in less than five minutes right before you fall asleep. You can bring these items to your mind by asking yourself:
What touched me today?
Who or what inspired me today?
What made me smile today?
What is the best thing that happened today?
2. Write a Thank You Note
Express your appreciation and enjoyment for someone who has made an impact on your life. You can send it, deliver it, or read it out loud to the person if possible. You can even write one to yourself.
3. Gratitude Collage
If you consider yourself an artsy person, a gratitude collage offers a way for you to visualize your gratitude. Take a picture of one thing you are grateful for each day of the week, which can be as simple as a flower or your breakfast. Then each week, add the photos to your collage and look back at all the things you are grateful for.
Walking is a therapeutic exercise in itself as it has many health benefits and also offers a way to clear your mind. As you go for a walk, observe the things you see around you. Take in the color of trees, the sounds of birds, and the smell of plants and try to express gratitude for the present moment. This can also be done with a friend.
This practice allows you to focus on the present moment without judgment. Gratitude meditation allows you to visual all the things in your life that you are grateful for, such as people, physical objects, or the ability to breath or see.
Written by Claire Klement, WPE
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Publications, Harvard Health. “In Praise of Gratitude — Harvard Health.” Harvard Health. N.p., Nov. 2011. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
Warrell, Margie. “The Power of Gratitude: Why Thanksgiving Should Be A Daily Event.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.