Did you know that gratitude is considered to be one of the healthiest of all human emotions? The power of gratitude is infinite, and research has shown the strong correlation between gratitude and happiness, as well as success. When we are grateful for something, we will attract more of that into our lives, giving us even more to be grateful for.
Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude provides us with so many benefits! Practicing gratitude:
reduces depression and stress
releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain
increases happiness, optimism, and patience
improves communication and decision making skills
decreases our blood pressure and improves our immune system
improves sleep patterns
increases self-satisfaction and self-esteem
boosts resilience and feelings of empathy
How to Implement a Gratitude Practice
Implementing a gratitude practice is quick and easy. You technically don't need anything other than your own mind! But a pen and paper or journal is an asset ;)
Find a time that works best for you. First thing in the morning or right before bed are good times that fit well into most people's routines.
Think about three things you're grateful for. You could do one or ten or even more, but three is a good place to start. These could be anything - people in your life, circumstances, material things, experiences...anything at all.
Write them down. If you have a paper or journal, take time to record your thoughts. It's totally okay to do this by just thinking though. Maybe you're lying in bed, or driving, or sitting in a waiting room - you can practice gratitude anywhere.
Repeat daily. Or even multiple times a day. The more you consciously practice gratitude, the more your mind will automatically find things to appreciate and feelings of gratitude will become second nature.
Activities you can try
Here are some fun activities to try yourself, with your kids, or with your class.
Start a gratitude journal. It can be a lot of fun to look back on past entries and see all the good things that have been happening in your life. It's also a great practice when you're having a bad day or are struggling with finding things to appreciate. (Speaking of gratitude journals, The Little Things Journal is coming out so soon! I can't wait to launch this journal next month just in time for Thanksgiving.)
Go on a gratitude walk. |Head out for a walk using all of your senses and really appreciating the sights, smells, and sounds. Really slow down and try to notice things you've never noticed before. There is so much to be thankful for in nature!
Play a gratitude game. Grab (or create) some gratitude prompt strips and take turns pulling a prompt and answering it. Try some gratitude tic tac toe, dice game, or BINGO. You can find these and other ideas here.
Start a tradition. There are a lot of ideas to help you start a yearly gratitude tradition, especially at this time of year. You can try creating a family gratitude chain, a gratitude time capsule, or other fun tradition. Find some neat examples here.
I'd love to hear how you incorporate gratitude into your daily life, and that of your students or children. Please leave a comment and let me know!