Last weekend I went to a professional development session where the focus for the morning was perspective. One of the speakers, Rod Soper, spoke about gratitude and it really opened my eyes to how being grateful can affect you as a person. Practising gratitude has social, psychological and physical implications, a lot of which I didn’t even realise.
Less lonely and isolated
More positive emotions
More feelings of joy, pleasure, optimism and happiness
Stronger immune system
More likely to exercise
Feeling more refreshed
Less aches and pains
Lower blood pressure
By practising just a small act of gratitude every day, you are more likely to feel the implications as listed above and who doesn’t want all those benefits for just 5 minutes of time?
So how can I practice gratitude you ask? Well, I have the answers for you. There are plenty of ways you can practice gratitude in your day to day life!
- Keep a gratitude journal – write down each day what you are grateful for, added bonus if you write why. By writing why you are grateful it will make you think and appreciate the entry more. It could be as simple as you are grateful for your bed because it means you get a comfortable sleep, or it could be something much more significant that happened throughout your day.
- Remember the bad – You know the lyrics “Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low” (Let Her Go – Passenger)? I was listening to these lyrics last night and it really reminded me that you can’t recognise you’re highs without remembering the hard times or low points in your life. Don’t just push them aside, take hold of them and acknowledge that you’ve overcome them.
- Use visual reminders – Have affirmations or cues in places you visit regularly. Places like your bathroom, your office desk or even your phone wallpaper. Just small reminders of gratefulness will be the nudge you need to practice.
- Be grateful to others – smile, say thank you, practice small acts of kindness or write a letter or message of gratitude to someone who helped you out.
- Practice mindfulness or meditation – Practising either of these techniques will keep you in the present time, rather than wishing for the future or overthinking the past. This is particularly useful for people who have a tendency to overthink or have anxiety as it centres you and makes you appreciate what you currently have.
The simplest way for you to practice gratitude is to write down what you are currently grateful for. So here’s my challenge, if you’re still reading by this point, I want you to leave a comment of what you are grateful for. It can be one thing, it can be ten. Let me know what you’re grateful for, I’d love to read them all!
What am I grateful for?
My new job
My pets, Kia and Simba
Being able to write and blog
My hope and resilience towards my health
The kids and families I work with
Now it’s your turn!