How To Be Grateful Everyday

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Thanksgiving rolls around but once a year and it's like an annual alarm clock that reminds us to give thanks and express gratitude where we might not otherwise.  But why do it just once a year?  

Postive psychologists have long touted the benefits of performing gratitude exercise suggesting that they can increase feelings of well-being and reduced depression.  But now, a new study in NueroImage is shedding a little light on why expressing gratitude can actually make us more positive.  And it has everything to do with the practice.  The study implies that even simple exercises can impact us months down the line because they have a self-perpetuating nature.  The idea is that the more you practice gratitude, the more you are aware of it and the more you can enjoy the benefits of it.  So, to keep the gratitude going and flowing long past Turkey Day, here are a few of our favorite gratitude exercises:

1. Keep a one-sentence gratitude journal: Every night before bed jot down one thing that you're grateful for.  You'll quickly find your perception shifting as you go through each day looking for joy and what makes you happiest.  

2. Not a big journal-keeper, then set an alarm: A gratitude alarm is another great way to take stock of the last 24 hours and reflect on what you're thankful for.  Set the alarm for the same time each day (a time you're usually free) and think about all that has transpired that has made the day great.  

3. Write thank you cards:  And not just for special occasions or when you receive a gift.  Go out of your way to write at least one thank you card a month to someone you're grateful for.  It could be for kind words or just for their presence.  

4. Take gratitude trips: Is there someone in your life who you has shaped and molded you?  Who you're grateful for above all else?  Schedule a surprise visit to thank them for their contribution to your life.  

5. Balance out your complaints: Get into the habit of flipping the script on your complaints.  If there is something you usually gripe about, try and think of one positive thing or area that you're grateful for at the same time.  It will move you out of the negative and into the positive.

6. Practice a gratitude meditation:  This is a wonderful daily practice to get into.  Starting each day with a few deep breaths and a gratitude mantra is a perfect way to take positive into the rest of your day.  Jack Kornfield has a wonderful practice that will have you feeling happier and more supported in no time.  


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