We’re diving into gratitude today, and how a gratitude practice can allow you to stay gentle (even when life gets messy). In this episode we’ll dig into why gratitude works, what it is, what it isn’t, and how to do it.
1 | The Research
Gratitude amplifies our enjoyment and appreciation of the good, which research has shown to not only improve mood, but to also improve overall life satisfaction.
When we intentionally recognize and think about all of the good things (and good people) in our life it actually makes our life better.
Intentionally recording gratitude moments naturally increases mindfulness as we become more intentionally aware of what is happening in our life as we experience it so that we can record our moments in journal.
Practicing this type of mindfulness has been shown across several studies to decrease symptoms of stress, physical pain, depression, and anxiety, and has actually been shown to increase brain volume and activity in the prefrontal cortex – a brain area that plays a critical role in effectively managing stress and negative emotions.
Also, it inevitably leads us to appreciate all the good things that happen throughout our day more,
2 | What It Is
Practicing gratitude simply means that you bring awareness to the extraordinary in the ordinary.
3 | What It’s Not
Adopting a gratitude practice doesn’t mean that you can’t feel painful or negative emotions. Or that you never have a bad day. Or that you never complain.
Gratitude is a both/and practice. I have feel bad or sad and still feel gratitude.
Gratitude is not about guilt. If you find yourself thinking “I should be grateful,” honor those feelings. Talk to someone. Reach out for help.
4 | Get Specific
If you’re just starting or you’re a long-time gratitude practitioner see if you can get specific.
For example, if you’re grateful for your family, see if you can find specific instances throughout your day or week that you’re grateful for when it comes to your family.
Once you train your brain to look for the specific, you’ll be amazing at the number of little pockets of gratitude you can find.
5 | Write it Down
Writing a gratitude list or recording instances in a moment journal can help you capture your gratitude practice each day.
6 | Give it Away
Share your gratitude! Expressing gratitude with others not only builds them up, but fills your cup as well.