How to Start a Gratitude Practice

How often do you reflect on and give thanks for everything that is good in your life?

Turns out, taking the time to practice gratitude not only feels great, it’s actually beneficial to your overall health.

Research shows people who have a grateful outlook experience a wide range of health benefits, including better physical and mental health, improved sleep and even greater self-esteem.

If your glasses aren’t naturally rose-colored and your glass tends to be half-empty, here are some easy ways to start counting your blessings.

  • Answer a simple question. You don’t necessarily have to start a gratitude journal – although that’s certainly an option – but take a minute to answer this prompt: “I’m grateful for …”. Type it out, jot it down or get creative and snap pictures or draw the people and things that make your heart happy. Set aside a small window of time every day or once a week to add to your list or creation.
  • Slow down. It’s hard to feel grateful for a small kindness or beautiful day if your attention is constantly diverted by an overwhelming and hectic schedule. Be honest with yourself about how you’re spending your time. Are there chores and tasks you can delegate, freeing you up to pursue activities that bring more joy or give you some much-needed down time? If your schedule isn’t likely to change anytime soon, try the mindfulness technique in this video to inspire gratitude in small doses. When you do feel a moment of gratitude, embrace and savor it.
  • Think outside yourself. Take time to acknowledge the role others play in your life. If you have a co-worker who makes you look forward to coming to work, tell her. Does your spouse routinely tackle a task you can’t stand doing? Thank them! You can also look for opportunities throughout the day to inspire gratitude from others – small acts of kindness such as holding a door or buying a cup of coffee can go a long way in helping you feel connected and grateful.

How do you practice gratitude throughout your day? Share your favorite tips for leading a more grateful life in the comments.  

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 Photo credit: le vent le cri

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