Gratitude in Practice
By Amy Tai, Community and Justice Services (diploma), Program Assistant
In the simplest terms, gratitude is acknowledging the good in one’s life. To be fully immersed in a gratitude-filled life as opposed to a surface level expression of thankfulness can truly transform one’s life. Practicing gratitude has many benefits including a more positive mood, improved health, and the ability to deal with adversity.
There are many ways to practice gratitude. It does not have to look the same for everyone. It can be as simple as saying “thank you” more often or can look more like meditation or a daily gratitude journal. While these things may seem “complex” at first, the more you do them, the easier they will get and a habit will form. Find what works for you, start incorporating it into your routine/life, and watch your overall wellbeing improve.
Here are three ways to get started:
- Name three things you are thankful for daily. Make it a routine to think about your blessings each day. Research suggests that your mood during the day and the quality of your sleep may be directly impacted by this (Cal Y Mayor Galindo, 2021). Once you have begun to build the habit, it may be beneficial to finish this exercise by writing them down, this way you can come back and read them at any time.
- Start a gratitude journal. We have already heard of the benefits of journaling and the benefits of gratitude. Imagine the benefits when those are combined. When you write, you access memories and emotions from a fresh angle, using different portions of your brain. It has been demonstrated that keeping a gratitude journal stimulates the parts of the brain associated with morality and positive feelings (Cal Y Mayor Galindo, 2021). You may also find it useful to be able to read previous journal entries, especially when you are finding it hard to stay positive and be grateful for the things around you.
- Meditate. We can broaden our understanding of life and our connection to ourselves and others by practicing various guided meditations, such as those on love and kindness. It encourages thankfulness because it fosters acceptance, objectivity, and forgiveness. We can also use this time to focus on something specific for which we are grateful, allowing the sensation to intensify and grow (Cal Y Mayor Galindo, 2021).
Regardless of what your life looks like right now, whether you are working through a rough patch or not, you can greatly benefit from the daily practice of gratitude. So much of our time is spent focused on what we don’t currently have (job, money, healing, etc.). The practice of gratitude reverses our priorities, allowing us to take time to appreciate the people and things we do.
Cal Y Mayor Galindo, P. (2021, April 13). What Is Gratitude? 5 Ways to Practice Being Thankful. BetterUp. https://www.betterup.com/blog/gratitude-definition-how-to-practice