By Sarah Spitz, LMSW
Even though Thanksgiving weekend is over, that doesn’t mean that the focus on gratitude should end too. Gratitude can have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing, and it doesn’t even require a lot of a time (and it’s free!). Research has shown that gratitude improves relationships, self-esteem, physical and psychological health, and even sleep. While many of us know how good it can feel to give thanks, it is easy to forget once we get back into the rhythm of daily life. Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude practices into your life.
- Three Gratitudes: In a TED Talk by Shawn Anchor, the CEO of Good Think Inc, one of the five activities to increase your positivity and happiness is the three gratitudes exercise. To do this, each day write down three things that you are grateful for. Remember, they don’t have to be big things — all of the little things are just as important!
- Gratitude Journal: similar to the three gratitudes, set aside time each day to write down what you are grateful for. Maybe this includes writing about one event in detail, or maybe this looks like a bulleted list. You may be writing about something you are grateful for from that day or something your remember from the past.
- Gratitude Letters and Visits: If a daily journaling exercise isn’t for you, try writing gratitude letters. Set aside time to write a letter to someone who has inspired you or who you would like to express thanks. After writing the letter you can send it to them or deliver it to them in person.
- Meditation: During a gratitude meditation, give attention to things in your life that you are grateful for. You can do this seated, lying down, or even walking. During a walking meditation, observe and bring awareness to everything around you, as well as sensations in your own body. For example, bringing awareness and gratitude to your feet as you take each step, and the trees that you walk beneath that provide you with some shade.
Do you have any gratitude practices that you have incorporated into your life?
Sarah Spitz is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you want to support in bringing mindfulness practices into your life, visit cobbpsychotherapy.com to see how therapy can help.