Gratitude is a practice that builds on itself in a variety of ways creating a sense of wonder, abundance and fulfillment in our lives. Countless studies show how a regular gratitude practice can improve our mood, calm anxiety, and help us feel more connected to others. For many, the holidays can be a rough time for us to find gratitude, which is why it’s important to practice all year long, so that we aren’t overwhelmed with the idea of counting long-forgotten blessings when we’re a few thoughts away from a mini breakdown. Today, I’d like to share some of my favorite ways to practice gratitude, and I hope some of these ideas can assist you on your journey in developing a daily habit that can be enjoyed all year round.
1. Daily Gratitude Meditation
Developing a regular meditation routine is one of the best forms of self-care, and it’s something that anyone can do. Ideally, you should meditate for about 20 minutes each day, but if you’re a beginner, meditating for around 5 minutes is a great way to begin the habit. There are a variety of different meditations you can do, but I love focusing on gratitude. Loving-kindness meditations are an amazing way to foster love and kindness towards yourself, your loved ones, as well as every person out there. During this time, you can sit and focus on the things you’re grateful for and give them your complete attention.
Click the image below to access my guided meditation for gratitude recording. You can revisit this and use any time you’d like to practice.
2. Nightly Gratitude Routine
We are all human and thus it is expected to continuously get caught up in the hectic routine of life. As a full-time working mother of young children, I know that time can sometimes slip away from you at the worst of times. That is why I have found that the best time to practice self care is either right when we wake up or before we go to sleep. This time is your time, and ending your day with this routine is a simplistic but rewarding gift to yourself.
Before bed, spend no more than 10 minutes writing down something you did that made you feel grateful. This can be anything. Perhaps a conversation you had with a friend that brought a smile to your face, an interaction with a family member, or coworker, that reminded you how much you appreciate them. For others, maybe acknowledging that you got to spend time with your children or help them with a problem they had. The key to this practice is to be specific and write why you appreciated the action and how it affected you.
Click the image below to access a printable gratitude journal sheet to help you with your nightly gratitude routine.
3. Write a Gratitude Letter
When we express gratitude to someone for something they have done for us we become mutual benefactors of the effect. When we think intently about why we are grateful to or for someone oxytocin, the bonding hormone is released in our brain and we are overcome by a sense of calm, well-being and a strong feeling of connection to the person we are writing the letter to. They experience the same bonding effect when they read it and allow themselves to receive our gratitude. Furthermore, it elicits in them a sense of thankfulness for what they have been given in their life. In short, gratitude is not only contagious but benefits everyone involved in the practice.
4. Conduct an Audit
One of the deeper gratitude practices that I sit down to do regularly is conducting an audit. In a notebook or your personal gratitude journal, think about someone in your life and write down the following questions:
- What have I received from this person?
- What have I given to this person?
- How have I caused difficulty to this person?
Often times, we get wrapped up in ourselves and forget what we’re doing for other people. Although our intentions are often good, sometimes we become self-centered and forget to be there for others, or on a bad day, we snap at someone and don’t realize how it affected them. When we do a regular audit, we’re able to self-reflect and re-align our focus on our guiding principles and gratitude.
5. What Went Well for You Yesterday?
All of these gratitude practices are designed to help gratitude become a reflex, and that’s why this is one of my personal favorites. Research shows that one of the best ways to learn anything, including active gratitude, is to continuously recall information. By taking some time to reflect on the previous day, you’re training your mind to find people and situations to be grateful for. Ask yourself, “What went well?”, and then recognize how grateful it made you feel and why.
Did you tell anyone? Sharing victories, small or large, helps us consciously be aware of the blessings in our lives while being in connection with another person.
As we go into the holidays, any of these gratitude practices can help us get into the right spiritual state as we interact with the people we care about the most. Gratitude is a phenomenon that brings our life profound abundance, and it’s something we can experience on a regular basis to improve our own well-being as well as our relationship with others.
I hope you all have an incredible holiday, and if you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for the newsletter and follow me on social media for updates!