I started getting interested in the power of gratitude a year or two ago. I kept hearing podcasts about the dramatic positive impact a daily practice of gratitude can have on your health, and was immediately intrigued. I found studies to show that gratitude reduces stress, addiction, and depression, and improves sleep quality and physical health. The Clinical Psychology Review even showed that interventions involving gratitude helped improve body image by 76%! This TIME article sums up several of the benefits nicely.
Aside from the incredible health benefits, going about your day-to-day life with an attitude of gratitude makes everything seem easier and more harmonious. You’ve been there, right? Sometimes you’ll have a day where you wake up with a smile, and things just seem to go “your way.” Even when something doesn’t go quite your way, you take it in stride, because it just feels like an amazing day! And then, there are those days when you grudgingly roll out of bed with a bad attitude, and it seems like nothing in your life is right. Your lack of gratitude casts a dark gray cloud over every. single. aspect. of your life. It’s pretty amazing what a difference your attitude of gratitude can make!
WOW! If I stop and think about it, I have so, so many things to be grateful for. Even on the worst days, I can identify many things that I feel so lucky to have … from the smallest (my morning cup of coffee!) to the largest (my amazing husband). But that was the problem … to get the benefits actually had to stop and think about it, daily. (picture source)
At first, I tried to create a habit … as soon as I woke up, I would think about 3 things for which I was grateful. That was fun … but it only lasted a day or two. Then, I put a Word document on the desktop of my computer, thinking I would have to open it every day when I saw it … I got 3-4 days out of this one. I set a daily calendar alarm to pop up on my computer … but you know how easy it is to “Dismiss” without a second thought.
Finally, one thing worked for me. I bought a book. And I’m happy to say that I’ve effortlessly practiced gratitude every single day for the past 40 days (since January 1st). And I LOVE it! It sets my day up wonderfully, and lets me realize how truly fortunate I am to be living this amazing life. (picture source)
The book I bought is nothing special, but it really helps me to have something physical to write in. It has a few quotes here and there, but it’s pretty much just blank pages with lines for every day. I could technically whip up another Word document in 30 seconds flat and print it off of my computer for the same effect. But for me, something about having an actual book sitting on my desk staring at me, and the desire to fill it all up and get that warm fuzzy feeling first thing in the morning … it just worked.
I write 2-3 things for which I’m grateful every day, before I even open my computer. Here’s the book I bought … it’s AMAZING how much my attitude toward the day brightens by doing this one simple thing! (Note: this post was written in 2014, and was the beginning of a cascade of morning habits! To learn about my 2018 morning routine, please see this post).
So please, in whatever form works for you … take just one minute today and practice an attitude of gratitude for your own life. And let me know how you like it! (picture source)
So tell me in the comments … Are you good at regularly practicing gratitude? What helps you feel most grateful for the things in your life?