At the beginning of the year, I began a gratitude journal where I wrote down 3 things I was grateful for that day before I went to sleep, a habit that took only five minutes of my time, and I truly noticed a difference. The benefits of practicing gratitude have been extensively studied, some of which include a reduction in stress and related health problems, improvement in the quality of sleep, and increased optimism and outlook on life.
Starting a gratitude journal may seem like a huge undertaking. The good news is this takes only five minutes and most habits take 21 days to form. Once they become habits, they will no longer feel like extra effort. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Give your gratitudes a home. Whether this is simply a journal or downloading an app (there are many free gratitude journal apps), having a spot to put your thoughts will not only allow you to review them, but the physical act of writing them down is more beneficial than simply “thinking” them.
2. Make time to be grateful. Most of the time we are so busy that we forget to be grateful or are unaware. Set aside a time when you can commit to five minutes either when you awake or right before bed, when our minds are often quieter. An alternative is to set reminders to go off at various times throughout the day to help bring you back to a mindset of gratitude. Many gratitude journal apps already have this function in place.
3. Surprise yourself with gratitude notes. You can write gratitudes on post-its and place them around your home or work area as visual reminders. Switching up photos in your homes or the wallpaper on your desktop can also help to remind us of important people to be grateful for or messages to remember. You can even go so far as placing notes in a loved one’s lunch or bag for them to find later, telling them why you are thankful for them.
4. Hang with people that have an attitude of gratitude. We are who we hang out with and it’s much easier to cultivate this attitude when you aren’t trying to deflect pessimism. It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of the critical people in your life, it means making a conscious effort to spend time with those people with whom you can share what you’re grateful for and how it is benefiting your life. Just like having a good exercise partner can help to motivate you to work out and stay on track, a good gratitude partner can also help you stay focussed on gratefulness.
5. Share your gratitude with others. Not only does this help to keep us accountable, but it helps others know why we appreciate them. It’s a win-win for everyone. And so…..
In the spirit of sharing, here are the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend:
1. My health and the health of my family and friends. Having health is true wealth because it affects your quality of life. Being able to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal with my family and my two-year-old niece was such a blessing.
2. The sun! Being able to enjoy the fall colours on a beautiful hike with my friend and her sister on Saturday. It was 22 degrees Celsius and reconnecting with nature really rejuvenated my soul.
3. I am thankful a close friend of mine is well and on the mend following a recent surgery and that I am able to spend time with her and help cheer her up in some small way.
4. And of course, thank you to all that follow, read and comment here on my blog. I am so grateful to be able to share my passion for healthy living, eating and well-being and for your support! Thank you lovely readers!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are you grateful for today? Or do you have a method you use to cultivate gratitude? Please feel free to share below!