7 SIMPLE WAYS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Happy New Year and congratulations, we made it through 2020! Last year was, unexpected, to say the least. Sometimes it felt 2020 was racing by and others it felt like it would never end. However, as the world overcame hurdle after hurdle we managed to come through all the chaos and tragedy together. Though some of us may have lost people who were dear to us or lost time with them I think it could be beneficial to look into this New Year with a fresh perspective. Instead of looking back at the things we might have missed out on last year I want you to look back and see what you still have.
Practicing gratitude can be a simple and effective way of boosting your mental health over time. As written in Mindful, “The regions associated with gratitude (in the brain) are part of the neural networks that light up when we socialize and experience pleasure. These regions are also heavily connected to the parts of the brain that control basic emotion regulation, such as heart rate and arousal levels, and are associated with stress relief and thus pain reduction.” Check out their recent scientific paper to learn more.
To start your year off the right, here are a couple of easy ways to start practicing gratitude:
1. Mindfulness and meditation
Allocate a little time each day to contemplate the things that you are grateful for. The session does not have to be too long but try and give yourself at least 5-10 minutes. In this time, enjoy some peace and reflect on at least 5 things that you are grateful for in your life.
2. Record your gratitude in a journal
After your mindfulness sessions, it can be valuable to write down your thoughts. Sometimes the act of writing and seeing words on a page can be a positive reinforcement for your gratitude. Try and be detailed in your writings and enjoy looking back at past entries to see how far you have come in your gratitude journey.
3. Be open to learning opportunities
Practicing gratitude for your errors is just as important as being thankful your successes. Be open to all the learning opportunities in your life, whether that may be learning from your mistakes or becoming more aware about the world around you.
4. One complaint free day a week
Challenge yourself to have one day a week where you don’t complain about anything. Have a day free from gripes about weather, politics or frustrating situations and see how you feel at the end.
5. Appreciate the moment
Life can be hectic and it can often be efficient to multitask, but sometimes we try to do too much at the same time. Try switching off the distractions for a little while and focus on one action that you are doing in the moment. Instead of listening to music or watching Netflix while making dinner simply focus on the tasks at hand. Appreciate the smells, feelings and motions of making a great meal.
6. Grow your gratitude by sharing time with others
Positivity and gratitude can be closely connected emotions. If you’re struggling to feel grateful then spending some time with friends or family can be helpful. Also, sharing time together can strengthen your relationships and leave everyone feeling happier and more grateful.
7. Be social about your gratitude
Finally, share your gratitude far and wide! Social media sites can often be negative places so add a little light by sharing positive messages, posts or links with your friends.
I hope we can all have a positive and grateful New Year.
By Ilona Cabral
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