Experts say a daily gratitude practice can vastly improve your mental health and outlook on life. I’ve had my own gratitude practice for years now and I can definitely say that practice has improved my positivity and has even helped calm my anxiety.
What is Gratitude?
I like this definition of Gratitude by Sansone and Sansone from the 2010 article Gratitude and Well Being:
“the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation”
A list of 10 more definitions from cited publications are on this excellent article by Positive Psychology.
What is a Gratitude Practice?
My own gratitude practice involves me writing down what I am grateful for every day. My practice has evolved, so now I have a page in my Notion planner that I type up what I am grateful for.
So your own gratitude practice can be quite versatile. You can even make it a habit to go over in your head every morning or every night what you are grateful for. If you write it down though, you get the added benefit of being able to look back on what you wrote.
What are the Benefits of a Daily Gratitude Practice?
A study done by two psychologists, Dr. Robert Emmons and Dr. Michael McCullough, showed that those who wrote about gratitude were…
- More optimistic about their lives.
- Exercised more.
- Had fewer visits to the doctor.
Other research, largely led by Dr. Emmons has shown that a gratitude practice can…
- Strengthen interpersonal relationships.
- Increase happiness.
- Strengthen self-control.
- Lead to better physical and mental health.
Practicing gratitude can decrease levels of depression and anxiety!
For even more on the power of gratitude, check out this list of Ted Talks on the topic.
How Do I Start my Gratitude Practice?
Start with thinking or writing down one to three things you are grateful for every day. This will turn into a habit after a few weeks and you have officially created your own gratitude practice!
You can acknowledge basic things like food, water, being surrounded by loved ones. You can acknowledge relationships in your life with your partner, parents, siblings, coworkers, friends etc. You can acknowledge bird song, the existence of puppies or a really good pastry.
Write down anything at all that you are grateful for. This is not a contest. No one even has to look at it except you. This practice is solely for your benefit!
Have your gratitude practice built in to your planning sheets every day with my planner bundles on Etsy.
My daily planner sheets have a spot to write down what you are grateful for so you never forget to do it!
You can also get some lovely journals at Paperwrld.com to write down what you’re grateful for.
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Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. If you want professional advice, seek out a trained health care professional.