Starting a gratitude practice is one of the best things that I have done for myself recently. It has helped me to recognize the good things in my life during moments of stress, has helped me to feel less overwhelmed, and to feel more joy and ease in my day.
But don’t just take my word for it. Multiple studies have shown the benefit of starting a gratitude practice.
A regular gratitude practice can increase resiliency which helped to reduce stress and it promotes positive emotions. Win = Win.
In face there are 7 proven benefits for having a gratitude practice.
- Improves relationships: A simple thank you to the stranger who held the door open for you can promote positive feelings in yourself making you more inclined to continue to be courteous to others. Acknowledging a kind deed or word from a co-worker can create a better working relationship. When work relationships are positive it helps to make the work day better.
- Improves your physical health: Studies have shown that people who have a regular gratitude practice are more inclined to take care of themselves such as being more likely to exercise and to have regular checkups with their doctor.
- Happiness is ⬆️ and Depression is ⬇️: It turns out that gratitude reduces feelings of envy, resentment, frustration and regret. If that’s not a reason to start a gratitude practice I don’t know what is…
- Enhances empathy: Grateful people are more likely to express feelings of sensitivity and empathy towards other; even when the other person hasn’t necessarily been kind towards them.
- You 😴😴 better: Writing in a gratitude journal before bed can help you to sleep better and longer!! Yes, please.
- Improves self-esteem: People who are grateful tend to be less resentful for the things that others have and appreciate their accomplishments because they know that they don’t have an impact on their own accomplishments.
- Creates resiliency: As I mentioned earlier, gratitude helps to reduce stress and it can even be helpful in overcoming trauma. I know that after my accident starting a gratitude practice was super helpful as it helped me to realize just how lucky I was despite my injuries and surgeries.
Gratitude reminds us that we have enough. More importantly it reminds us that we are enough.
3 Ways to Start a Gratitude Practice
- Start a gratitude journal. Ever notice how when one thing goes wrong in a day that’s the only thing that we notice? This year, start to retrain your brain to notice the good things by taking time at the end of each day to write down 3 things that you are grateful for. Or go even simpler and just write down your favourite moment of the day.
- Practice being more present in everything you do. When we are more present and paying attention on purpose to what is happening we are better able to remember the good things. That moment when a stranger held the door open for me is less likely to get lost amidst the “chaos” of life if I notice what’s happening instead of being glued to my phone. (no judgements here)
- A Gratitude Meditation. Sitting down to meditate is a great way to tap into gratitude.
To help you start your own gratitude practice I have included a short guided gratitude meditation. You can follow along below or scroll further down to listen to the recording.
Turn off your phone and free yourself of all interruptions. Either sit down or lie down if it feels more comfortable. Take a moment to settle in for this meditation and close your eyes.
Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. With each breath feel all tension melt away as you gradually relax.
Continue to breath slowly and gently as you guide your awareness to the top of your head.
Picture a warm, golden light spreading from the top of your head down to your toes.
As the light washes over you, surrounding and protecting you and filling you with love, feel your muscles and limbs start to relax.
Take a few more deep breaths breathing in the feeling of love and safety.
In this relaxed space, reflect on all the things that you are grateful for: loved ones, breath in your lungs, the sun shining on your face, the crisp fall air, the tasty meal you had last night – whatever comes to mind.
If you’re having some difficulty coming up with gratitudes, picture small moments of kindness that someone has shown you. A smile or a friendly wave. The door being held open for you.
We can even express gratitude for this moment, reminding ourselves of the importance of taking a moment to ourselves and saying thank you for doing so.
As each image appears in you mind, visualize yourself saying “thank you”.
Try and make the image and feeling as real as you can. If it’s a person or pet try and picture them standing in front of you. If it’s a meal that you ate, try to remember the taste of it as you say thank you.
Now visualize in your head saying “I’m grateful for all of the moments that have led me here” as you continue to feel the light of love and safety washing over you.
Now allow the feeling of deep gratitude to come into your body.
Notice where in your body the feeling is.
Allow this feeling to wash over you and to expand washing away any negativity and tension.
Continue to remain in this relaxed state for several more breaths in and out.
Take a moment to end the meditation with the following affirmation:
Thank you Universe for the many blessings that I have received. May they multiply day by day as I continue to notice and give thanks for them. Thank you Universe for watching over me and protecting me.
When you are ready, slowly open your eyes and wiggle your fingers and toes.
P.S. Want more? Click here to check out my FREE 7 day meditation challenge.