Gratitude feels really good. And research suggests that it can even benefit your physical and mental health! Some of these benefits include improved sleep, lower blood pressure, stronger quality of relationships, lower rates of illness, and more.
Try some of the below routines to get started today making gratitude a conscious practice in your everyday life.
Gratitude Practices That Take 10-20 Minutes:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Take 15 minutes or so at the end of each day to reflect on positive things that happened that day. Give them a written shout-out. No one else has to read it.
- Meditate. When you focus on the moment, you become more present. Try sitting down for a ten-minute mediation in which you focus specifically on what you’re grateful for.
- Pick a day to engage in weekly reflections. Even if this week just felt mediocre, mentally comb back over it and acknowledge the moments that made you feel good. Even and especially the small ones.
- Write a note to someone who deserves a thank you. Is there someone who you’ve been meaning to reach out to but haven’t gotten around to it? Take pen to paper (or mouse-click to email) and write down some thoughts expressing what that person means to you. Chances are, it’ll mean a lot to him or her, and will also make you feel good in the process.
Pressed for time? No worries. Practicing gratitude can also take less than a minute.
Gratitude Practices That Take Less Than A Minute:
- When you stop at the first red light on the way to work or to run errands, close your eyes and think of one thing that you’re feeling grateful for today. Picture it so clearly that it seems to be right in front of you and hold it in your mind until the light turns green… or you get honked at.
- Keep a small gratitude notebook in your bathroom drawer. While you’re brushing your teeth, take it out and write down one thing you’re grateful for that day.
- Text someone who did something nice for you this week. This could be someone who bought you a coffee one day, said something uplifting to you when you needed it, or just provided some warmth to your life in a way that meant something to you. Just say thanks and tell them that what they did was meaningful to you.
- As you’re lying in bed about to fall asleep, picture something you’re grateful for. Thinking of something that makes you happy before you fall asleep takes the place of any negative nighttime rumination or anxiety you may be prone to.
- Thank people more. The barista, the bus driver, a co-worker – if someone, even a stranger, does something nice for you, acknowledge it. Small expressions of gratitude like saying “thank you” even when you don’t feel like it, can have big benefits on the tone of your day.
And yes – to address a common question – the things you’re acknowledging can be small. If you catch yourself expressing gratitude for the same major blessings in your life (i.e. family, friends, your job), switch it up by also appreciating the mundane. Maybe your morning coffee was a bright spot in your day, or your co-worker complimented you this afternoon. Give them some mental shout-outs.
Taking even just one moment each day to consciously appreciate elements of your life has the power to boost your psychological and physical wellbeing. Once you build this habit into your regular routine, gratitude will feel just that – regular and routine. Imagine the lift to your daily outlook, energy, and way of life if gratitude becomes a seamless part of the way you approach each and every day.
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