5 Tips for Practicing Gratitude

By Deidrie Naomi Austin, M.Ed, LPC-Associate

Life can bring many day-to-day challenges that can cause us to feel a variety of emotions, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Some days we just want to find a way to boost our mood and get out of the funk that we are feeling.

Although there are a variety of ways that we can begin to help ourselves and improve our mental health, practicing gratitude, is one easy, quick and effective mood booster!

Gratitude can help us feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve our health, and improve our relationships. Here are 5 tips to begin practicing gratitude:

1. Think About What You’re Grateful For

The first step to practicing gratitude is to think about everything in your life that you are grateful for.

When something is not going well it can be easy to get stuck in a negative cycle and to begin only focusing on everything that isn’t going right.

Instead, think about the things in your day or life that are going well, such as relationships, your job, your home, other aspects of your day-to-day life, and find something that stands out for you. The “thing” that you find that stands out for you is your gratitude for the day.

2. Have An Open Mind

Allow yourself to sit with whatever comes up for you. In our day-to-day lives, it can be easy to be judgmental, but the goal is to not judge whatever comes up. Giving gratitude is a very beneficial and powerful process. The ability to give gratitude for anything, whether big or small, is valuable.

3. Allow Yourself To Feel Gratitude

Now that you have decided on your gratitude for the day, the next step is to allow yourself to think about what that gratitude means to you.

Go deeper with your gratitude and figure out the significance of it for you. Allow yourself to feel the emotion of gratitude in your heart and let it nourish your mind, body, and your soul.

Gratitude has the power to make us happier, increase psychological well-being, enhance our positive emotions, increase our self-esteem, reduce depressive symptoms, improve sleep, and so much more!

4. Note Your Gratitude

Once you have selected your gratitude and have taken the time to sit with your gratitude, it is time to write down what it is that you’re grateful for and why. Either write down your gratitude on a slip of paper or write it down in a gratitude journal.

Taking the time to write down your gratitude gives it additional power. An example of noting your gratitude can look like this:

“I’m thankful for ________ today because _____.”

5. Keep it in a Special Place

The next step to practicing gratitude is to make it a part of your daily life and to create a visual reminder of all the positive things that you have in your life. You can create a gratitude jar by purchasing a jar and then decorating it, or maybe you already have a special jar at home that you would like to use to keep your slips of paper that you have written out your gratitude. You might prefer to keep a gratitude journal that allows you more space to really expand on your gratitude as you allow yourself to go deeper with your gratitude.

Place your jar or journal in a spot where you will see it every day, to serve as a reminder for you to practice your gratitude for the day… every day.

Practicing gratitude can be healing, positive, and help with improving your mental health.

If you are having difficulty improving your mental health, I would love to hear from you!

Contact me so that we can begin working through your concerns together!

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