“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
This time of year can be rough — the holidays are over and the weather is bleak — but a small shift in mindset can dramatically change the day’s trajectory. And that isn’t just some “turn that frown upside-down” bs either.
Why it works
Not only have studies shown that practicing gratitude activates the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine which can make you actually want to keep this practice going, but a regular gratitude practice also engages the brain’s hypothalamus which, long story short (and way over-simplified), maintains our equilibrium.
The bottom line is that a gratitude practice has a wide range of positive effects: From better sleep to quality relationships and mental strength, developing a regular gratitude practice is a simple way to improve your overall well-being and takes less time than hitting the gym or cooking a healthy meal. So why aren’t we doing it more often? (There’s a loaded question!) One reason: Because new habits take time and support.
How to start your gratitude practice
Starting something new is always easiest when attached to a well established existing routine. Can you pause for gratitude before your morning coffee or a meal? Or on your way to/from work?
There’s no wrong way to practice gratitude. Pausing for a quiet moment of reflection works just as well as grabbing your favorite notebook and pen to journal. What’s most important is that this new part of your day is something you look forward to and doesn’t feel daunting. Keep it casual, but stay disciplined. You’re well on your way.
If you’re in need of inspiration for how to express gratitude, check out my 24 day challenge on Instagram (@outlookgoodfeelgood) to get started!
- How have you helped someone else lately? Why did you do so? Honor the honesty behind your intention.
- Scroll through the photos on your phone. Randomly select one picture to express gratitude for: What can you celebrate about this moment?
- Go outside or look out the window and pause to take in the elements through all your senses. What’s something about nature, as it is right now, that you’re grateful for?
- What’s a recent purchase that has sparked joy? Cultivate gratitude for your good fortune — small or large.