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Self Care Series - Gratitude

July 28, 2021

Right now I think it’s safe to assume that a lot of us are feeling a bit blah about the state of things, I know I am. I just started listing all of the crappy things happening in the world right now and it was too depressing, so I deleted it. Instead, when it seems that the weight of the world is getting a bit too heavy, what really helps me out of my funk is practicing gratitude.

What is practicing gratitude? Kind of what it sounds like. You list the things in your life that you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude is a super easy, micro, mental, reset. You don’t need anything other than about 30 seconds. I try to do it every day when I wake up, before I get out of bed. It’s so simple, I say to myself, ‘I’m grateful for this warm bed. I’m grateful for my family being safe and happy, I’m grateful for cuddles with my puppy, etc.’ From there, carry it through your day, make an effort to think about being grateful for your first sip of your morning coffee. Or be grateful to the person who let you in the traffic lane you needed. It’s so easy to bring gratitude into your life.

From there you can take it further, here are a couple of extra gratitude practices:

Write down 5 things each day that you are grateful that happened. Either write these down in a journal, or another idea is to write down each thing on a little piece of paper and put it in a jar. After a while, if you’re feeling down, you can just pull one out and see a little reminder of who and what is good in your life.

You could also use gratitude prompts if you’re feeling a little lost. Just ask and answer these to yourself in your head. Here are a few:

  • I’m grateful for three things I hear:
  • I’m grateful for three things I see:
  • I’m grateful for three things I smell:
  • I’m grateful for three things I touch/feel:
  • I’m grateful for these three things I taste:
  • I’m grateful for these three blue things:
  • I’m grateful for these three animals/birds:
  • I’m grateful for these three friends:
  • I’m grateful for these three teachers:
  • I’m grateful for these three family members:
  • I’m grateful for these three things in my home:
  • I’m grateful for these three people who hired me:
  • Etc.

Research shows that gratitude can:

Improve your physical health. People who exhibit gratitude report fewer aches and pains, a general feeling of health, more regular exercise, and more frequent checkups with their doctor than those who don’t.

Improve your psychological health. Grateful people enjoy higher wellbeing and happiness and suffer from reduced symptoms of depression.

Enhance empathy and reduces aggression. Those who show their gratitude are less likely to seek revenge against others and more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, with sensitivity and empathy.

Improve your sleep. Practicing gratitude regularly can help you sleep longer and better.

Enhance your self-esteem. People who are grateful have increased self-esteem, partly due to their ability to appreciate other peoples’ accomplishments.

Increase in mental strength. Grateful people have an advantage in overcoming trauma and enhanced resilience, helping them to bounce back from highly stressful situations. (Morin, 2014). - PositivePsychology.com

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