One thing that’s changed my life over the past year is actively, intentionally and consistently practicing gratitude.
Many people hear “gratitude” and think of it in terms of saying “thank you” to someone who’s helped or given a gift. I’m not talking about the “action” of gratitude—but rather the emotion.
Gratitude is truly a feeling.
And there’s a lot of research over the last decade that’s shown people who consciously practice gratitude tend to be happier and less depressed. There are emotional, social, personality, career and health benefits that have been studied and associated with gratitude.
From improved physical and psychological health, to relationships, to reducing aggression and enhancing empathy, to better sleep, self-esteem and mental strength—there’s no doubt that gratitude can unlock something powerful within you.
So, why aren’t more people practicing gratitude? Well, because of that one word… “practice.”
Gratitude requires intention and action.
This makes it a practice. The good news is, while it does require intention, the practice is easy to implement into your daily life right now—and over time you’ll start to see the benefits.
My favorite way is to keep a gratitude journal—I love it because from time to time I can look back through what I’ve written and feel even more gratitude and appreciation for myself, my life, and the universe.
It can take literally less than 60 seconds a day—but I find I do enjoy when I can spend a few minutes reflecting and enjoying my own gratitude. Every day (sometimes morning and night but at LEAST in the morning), I write down 3 things I’m grateful for.
Don’t overthink this.
This can be ANYTHING. Here’s a list of words that popped up flipping through my own gratitude journal from the past few months—I’m grateful for:
Kristen (my dog), yoga, my opportunities, my dad, my mom, grocery delivery, my front yard, the weather, my health, having a gas stove, cashew butter, this day, Mind Over Munch, coffee, my sisters, getting to work with Christian (my boyfriend and partner), my privileges, Whole30, the birds, water, meditation, to work from home, La Croix, living in Santa Monica, my yoga mat…
I should also note that things I’m grateful for tend to repeat, again and again. This is fine!
I do try to stretch myself and also acknowledge things I’m grateful for that I haven’t noted previously, but there’s nothing wrong with being grateful for things every single day—in fact, it’s a good thing!
There’s no right or wrong way to practice gratitude.
There aren’t things you should or shouldn’t be grateful for—there just are things you’re grateful for. So be grateful or them. Spend even one minute during the day acknowledging that gratitude. It will change your life.
It can be in a journal, but it could also be in a note on your phone, sharing out loud with another person, or even just quiet and to yourself in your own mind—the important thing is not sharing it or even writing it, but rather, it’s the intention and giving that time (no matter how brief) to feeling and noticing the gratitude—and doing it regularly.
When I first started my gratitude practice, I actually set alarms every day to make sure I would not forget to do this—now I do it naturally without having to remind myself.
What are you grateful for? Try to think of 1, 2 or 3 things you’re grateful for today! And why not set an alarm to do it tomorrow, too?
Thanks for spending this time with me. I am grateful for you—truly!