Practicing gratitude can sometimes be something easier said than done. You might ask, will writing down three things I am grateful for each day really make that big of a difference? Luckily, the answer is yes! Dedicating even just a single minute to giving thanks daily has been proven to go a long way in supporting your mental health.
What is Gratitude and Why is it Important?
Gratitude can be described as a quality or feeling of being thankful and appreciative for what one has been given. These “gifts” can be tangible or more abstract. Someone can show gratitude to a friend who has baked them cookies. Someone can also show gratitude for the air that they breathe and the roof over their head. Especially while living through a pandemic and other catastrophic world events, it is easy to feel anxiety, sadness, or anger. No matter how big or small something is, recognizing what one has that betters their quality of life can help combat these negative emotions and increase happiness.
Regularly exploring gratitude can physically change your brain over time. Gratitude practices can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals in your brain that boost your mood. Your brain can permanently develop pathways that create a more positive mindset.
How Can You Practice Gratitude?
Journal. Dedicate a small journal or notepad and side aside a time to write down what you are grateful. Writing at the same time each day will make it easier to develop gratitude journaling as a habit. You can start off with one thing, and eventually work up to three, then five, or as many more as you want. As an example, you could write…
- I am grateful for my favorite fuzzy blanket.
- I am grateful for access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- I am grateful for the sunshine.
Talk with a loved one. Sit down with a friend or family member and spend a few minutes sharing with one another about what you are thankful for and see what you share in common. It can be helpful to see someone else’s perspective. Both of you may find new things to be grateful for that you wouldn’t have considered before.
By: Ilana Issula
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