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The Power of Gratitude

The power of gratitude is truly life-changing. In fact, science even says so! Studies show that a focus on gratefulness ultimately leads us to feel happier and more fulfilled. Plus, it results in more optimism, new and lasting relationships, better health, less anxiety, fewer aches and pains, better sleep, and higher self-esteem.

Five Ways to Practice Gratitude

Here are five ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal: To start, make an effort to list three things that you’re grateful for each day. It can be as specific as the smell of your morning coffee or as broad as the love and support of your partner. If you’re feeling particularly motivated, keep going! Instead of a set number each day, aim to complete a list of 200 things by the end of the month. Some people prefer to start their day on a positive note, while others may want to incorporate this practice into their bedtime routine. Either way, taking a few moments to focus on the good will have lasting benefits.

  2. Play Roses and Thorns at dinner: While your family is eating dinner, go around the table and share your highs (roses) and lows (thorns) for the day. Try to emphasize the good! When it’s possible, think of ways for your loved ones to overcome their challenges or improve their negative outcomes.

  3. Practice mindfulness: As I explored in last month’s blog post, mindfulness is paying attention in a purposeful and non-judgmental way. It helps you focus on the present moment, which naturally evolves into a spirit of gratitude. It also allows you to better connect to your loved ones, which in turn makes you feel thankful for their presence in your life.

  4. Engage in positive thinking: I bet you’d be surprised at how much negative self-talk you use each and every day. Fortunately, you are in charge of the choices you make. In moments of stress or frustration, focus on the positive. Grateful people naturally look for blessings and good fortune. This small shift will get you one step closer to an attitude of gratitude.

  5. Use visual reminders: Forgetfulness is a major obstacle when it comes to developing a new habit. As a natural way to incorporate thankfulness into your day, pick a few visual reminders to serve as your cues. For instance, when you see your partner and kids each morning, take a moment to think about why you’re grateful for them. You can even speak these sentiments out loud to them. Or each time you climb into your car, think of one thing that you appreciate from the day so far.

Research shows that making an oath to do something increases the likelihood that we actually do it. With this thought in mind, I encourage you to set an intention of gratitude. Grab a Post-It note, and write down something like, “I promise to show gratitude today.” Stick it on your bathroom mirror, and get ready to be inspired every morning!

Be Inspired By World Kindness Day and Thanksgiving

Of course, we associate the Thanksgiving holiday with the practice of gratitude. But did you know that November 13th is World Kindness Day? This holiday promotes the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world, centering around the idea that compassion for others is what connects us together. Want to participate this year? A great way to show kindness to your family and friends is to share the reasons why you’re grateful to have them in your life.

You can incorporate gratitude into your Thanksgiving celebration too. On the back of your place cards, include the prompt, “I am grateful for _____.” Then, before you serve your meal, go around the table and give everyone an opportunity to share their answer.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with gratitude!

Reach out to Dr. Kelli Malkasian, PsyD, CEDS at Coral Reef Counseling, and schedule a free consultation or telehealth appointment today.

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