Nowadays, it seems that everyone is cultivating a “gratitude” practice – but what do they mean by that, and does it offer any genuine benefits? To help you gain a clearer picture, here’s the ultimate guide to gratitude.
In the simplest terms, gratitude is a practice during which you are actively thankful and appreciative of whatever may be in your life.
Gratitude has been proven to have several advantages for your emotional and mental well-being, as well as your physical health!
According to a number of studies, cultivating and building a gratitude practice in your everyday life can have a huge number of benefits! Let’s explore some of these in greater detail.
Boost your immune system. As well as helping to boost and strengthen your overall mood and sense of well-being, regular gratitude practice has been shown to reduce stress levels.
When stress is present, our immune system is less ready to tackle any potential threats, and this can leave us vulnerable to illness and disease.
Reduced stress, however, increases our immune response and can also help to keep your heart in great shape – practicing gratitude can play a part in reducing your risk of heart failure and disease.
In other words, by keeping your mental health strong and healthy, you are also helping your body stay fit and well.
Uplift your mood and outlook on life. Gratitude can play a large role in reducing symptoms of both anxiety and depression, as well as boosting your feelings of well-being.
As a bonus, gratitude helps to boost your overall outlook on life, helping you to feel more optimistic about both your present-day life and the bright future brimming on the horizon.
Gratitude allows you to feel more satisfied with your life and allows you to be happy with less – both of which are important for happiness.
Strengthen your relationships. Cultivating a regular gratitude practice is also beneficial for your relationships.
Gratitude can make your existing relationships stronger and help you to form new relationships more effectively, allowing you to appreciate the smaller things that others do for you and that you can do for them.
How Can You Build and Master A Gratitude Practice?
Incorporating a gratitude practice into your everyday life does not have to be difficult! Practice makes progress. Add small rituals to your daily routine that help you feel gratitude:
Notice the little things. You can cultivate gratitude simply by noticing the little things. Each day pick three things that you’re grateful for. Whether it’s a good cup of coffee, the sight of your pet, or even just a sunny day, this helps to train your brain to notice the small things.
When you notice things that make you feel joy – even for a moment – you’ll naturally feel gratitude.
Take a mindfulness walk. Go for a stroll and make an effort to appreciate what’s around you. You can do this by focusing on each of your senses. Spend a minute just listening, a minute looking at your surroundings, and so on. Try to notice the vivid color patterns, sounds, smells, and sensations you would typically miss, such as a cool breeze on your skin or the clouds in the sky.
Start a gratitude journal. Take a few moments each night to list the things that you’re grateful for. This will force you to think about and acknowledge them and help you to get familiar with the feeling of gratitude.
Building gratitude is like training any muscle – the more you practice, the stronger the ability will get. Before you know it, you’ll be incorporating gratitude into your daily life automatically – and it will become the best habit you will ever develop.