3 Tips to Practice Gratitude to Increase Joy & Quickly Improve Your Health
Research is slowly uncovering the secret to finding happiness, which is connected to something we learned as children.
As kids, we learned from our parents the value of saying "please" and "thank you." These were the magical words that would get you into the land of an extra scoop of ice cream or watching TV past your bedtime. Now, as adults, we have learn that uttering these words are crucial to our social status since it shows us as polite and decent humans beings. Research now shows that saying “thank you,” or more specifically the act of being grateful, is even more important to us as it has powerful effects on our quality of life and overall happiness. Multiple studies have shown that people who are grateful for what they have are less stressed (which influences our hormones, metabolism, energy, and mood), sleep deeper, and create better relationships.
Gratitude shifts the focus from the things you lack in your life to what you do possess (material items, experiences, and people), ultimately creating a more positive mindset. This switch in focus from the lack to the abundance around you, allows you to open yourself up to truly notice all the good in your life and helps attract even more positivity and abundance. A daily gratitude practice is one of the simplest, quickest, and significant ways to improving your health and happiness.
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Speak your “thank you”s
The quickest way to practice gratitude is to say them out loud. Start by listing three things around you that bring you joy. This could be your cozy bed, the cool artwork on the wall, or the food in your fridge. If you feel stuck, start with the smallest of things and just keep your mind going. Once you start, you'll find more and more things to list; so keep it up! Here are the things I was grateful for this morning:
My soft pillow
My well working A/C unit
Snuggling with my sleepy puppy
Waking up next to my husband
My yoga mat
The existence of oatmeal (love that stuff!)
The palm tree outside my bedroom window
Last night's pasta dinner
My strong wifi connection
A nice hot shower
As you can tell, some of these are fairly small things but once I start listing them I instantly feel lighter, happier, and more joyful. My mind is now open to all the good around me, which causes any feelings of negativity and "I don't have x, y, z" to fly out the window. So go ahead and speak your list! By giving your gratitude a voice, you reaffirm their positivity since you can hear them as well as visualize them. Double whammy!
Write them out
If you like to journal, this is the example for you. Pick a time that you can consistently dedicate to your gratitude practice. As you have less to distract you, I suggest right as you wake up or just before you go to bed to write in your gratitude journal (use any notebook you may have). Spend 5-10 minutes writing down 5-10 things that you value and watch your mindset change as you fill more and more pages. Keep your journal and a pen by your bedside table so you can easily reach it in the morning or at night.
Meditate on the positive
Even if you meditate everyday or are a ever-so-often kinda gal, you can easily practice gratitude while you meditate. If you have trouble quieting your mind and letting your thoughts pass by, focusing on something you are grateful for will help you concentrate. Pick something and visualize it while you sit in a comfy chair or lay down on your bed. Close your eyes and feel your breath envelope your body as your chest and belly expand and deflate. Sit as long as you like.
You now have the tools to start your own gratitude routine! Enter into the new year with a fresh perspective on all the good in your life and see it multiply in 2018. Gratitude attracts abundance and more positivity so let’s get to it!
I am so appreciative of you for taking the time to visit and read this post. You make it possible for me to do what I do and I hope that this, along with my other blog entries, resonate with you. If you have suggestions for future posts or topics that interest you, please leave them in the comments below.