How often do you stop to think about what you’re grateful for? Every day? Every month? Once a year? In the USA, we spend the month of November thinking about our blessings. We gather on Thanksgiving Day and often go around the table to share something we are most grateful for. It’s a beautiful moment and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Well, November was nine months ago. What if we brought that sort of exercise into our everyday life? I’m here for the warm fuzzies on a daily basis!
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
What is that warm fuzzy feeling? It’s happiness and it’s just one of the many benefits that we can get from starting a gratitude practice. Harvard Health summarizes some others:
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.Harvard Health
Let’s look at some of those benefits closer!!
Benefit: Relish Good Experiences
At first I wondered why gratitude would help make pleasant experiences even better. And then I remembered times when something fun was going on, but I couldn’t focus on it because of all the problems. It was too hot, I was thirsty, there were bugs…etc. When we train our brain to only see the negative, it can ruin even good moments.
Instead of enjoying the outing, I was a grumpy lump, complaining about annoyances. Hey, we’re all entitled to our feelings, I’m a big proponent of that. But for our own enrichment as a person, wouldn’t it be awesome to shift the focus to gratitude for an opportunity we’re experiencing? I think yes, how about you? If I could have gotten out of my slump and enjoyed the natural beauty, I’m sure my vibration would have been much higher.
Related: How to Stop Worrying For Good!
Benefit: Improved Health
When we feel like the world is gloomy, unsafe, or against us, I can guarantee that will raise your stress.
I mean, keeping track of all the things going wrong is oddly satisfying in a way, I won’t lie. Almost like you’re building a case for why you deserve to feel miserable. But this pessimistic view of life can mean you may die sooner. I can guarantee that would outweigh any vindication you feel from hoarding grumpy feelings. In fact, a study in Finland found that there may be a link between your outlook on life and your heart health:
Researchers found that overall pessimists were twice as likely to die than optimists and on top of this, they found being grumpy could also lead to possible blood vessel damage.
I feel like that’s pretty good motivation to find a more optimistic point of view!
Quick note: If you feel grumpy or down on a regular basis, make sure to visit your doctor to rule out depression or other illnesses! There are a host of imbalances in your body that could make a good mood really hard to find. Also consider what you’re eating, food can have a huge impact on how we feel and function.
Benefit: Dealing With Adversity
This ties in to one of my favorite subjects: growth mindset! Pessimism and grumpiness whisper to our soul: you’ll never be good enough. You can’t learn new things. It’s too late for you. This leaves us feeling like our brains are rigid – fixed and unchangeable. When adversity shows up, we are overwhelmed by it. Our tools to overcome it are weak because we don’t believe we can.
Enter: growth mindset. This teaches us resiliency: when things go wrong, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Our brains can be rewired, we can find new habits and solve new problems. A positive attitude allows us to be grateful for failure. That feels counter intuitive at first, but failure is what leads to all great breakthroughs.
It also teaches us to have gratitude for the feedback of others who are seeing us struggle. Instead of beating ourselves up, we rebound and improve. There is huge potential here for achieving our growth goals.
Ways to Start a Gratitude Practice
Are you pumped up and ready to bring more gratitude to your life now? I hope so! One really effective gratitude practice is to start a gratitude journal. There are a couple ways you can incorporate this into your routine:
- Write 3-5 unique items everyday that you are grateful for.
- Use prompts to dig deeper into your gratitude experiences.
I recommend writing items everyday and maybe going deeper once a week or so. Don’t burn out on gratitude, that wouldn’t feel very good, LOL!
So, for the days you have time and are mentally ready to dig deeper into your gratitude practice here are 10 prompts to get you started!
10 Gratitude Journal Prompts
- Who are you most thankful for?
- What was a time you literally glowed with gratitude?
- How has someone shown gratitude to you?
- When was a time you went out of your way to show gratitude?
- How do you prefer to show gratitude to others (letter, email, call, etc)? Why?
- List 5 things you are grateful for right now and how each one came into your life.
- What invention are you eternally grateful someone thought of?
- Write about something your younger self did that you are so glad happened.
- What are you doing now that will inspire gratitude in your future self?
- What activity in your life are you most thankful for?
It’s your turn now!
Which prompt do you want to start with? Have you incorporated a gratitude practice into your life before? Even if you have tried before and it didn’t stick, it’s always a good day to try again! You’ve got this!