Practicing gratitude has many benefits. It enhances our experiences in life far more than you may know.
It improves physical health, psychological health, sleep, increases self-esteem and enhances empathy.
Research by psychologist Robert Emmons shows that practicing gratitude rewires your brain and releases the feel-good chemical dopamine. It leads to more positive emotions and a deeper sense of life satisfaction and well-being.
While it's easy to be thankful for something memorable like big promotion at work, don't forget the little things. When we tune in and pay attention, there are many moments throughout the day where we can weave in gratitude. When you start doing this, you will notice a shift in your outlook.
This isn't about trying to control what you cannot control. You will have thoughts and feelings about those things and they will always be a part of life. But this is about using your personal power to choose another perspective, because that you do have control of.
So, how can you start a gratitude practice?
- Make a daily intention when you wake up each morning to pay attention to the "other side" of a possible negative point of view. So, you can actually state, "My intention today is to really pay attention to what's going well or what's happening in my favor."
- At the end of the day write down three things you're grateful for. Being descriptive and specific is better than being general. So, instead of "I'm grateful for the holidays" it could be "I'm grateful that I get to spend the holidays with my family or friends and that I get a break from work for the day."
- Include the little things like the warm sun on your face in a moment you were feeling sad or a moment of relief when your husband cooks dinner because you have a deadline and need the time.
- Allow yourself to slow down a bit and really take in and savor the moment.
Try it for 30 days. Rate your general outlook before you begin on a scale of 1-10 and then again when you finish on the last day.
As I always say, it does take a commitment to create a new habit. But when you put in the time and effort, you will see results!
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