What are you grateful for at this moment? There are a multitude of benefits to be received from a regular gratitude practice. A gratitude practice can simply be taking the time to pause, acknowledge and reflect upon all the things you are grateful for. Those who practice this consistently typically have more positive emotions, more energy, stronger immune systems, improved sleep, greater life satisfaction, an overall sense of improved well-being, and more compassion and kindness towards others. The effects of our personal gratitude practice ripple out to have positive effects within our greater community. Join us this month as we commit to this practice and share the gratitude outward! Here are three gratitude practices to inspire your daily ritual:
1. Gratitude Journal
This is one of the most common practices and one that is super potent – simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments, experiences, people or objects for which we are grateful. Do what works for you, maybe daily or weekly so that you remain inspired and aware of what is present in your life. The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to take notice of new things you’re grateful for, this can be both the big things as well as finding gratitude and appreciation for life’s small ordinary moments. Gratitude journaling is effective because it slowly changes the way we perceive the world around us by adjusting what we focus on. Open your eyes to experience the world around you in a new way. As with any practice, gratitude becomes easier the more we do it. Expressing appreciation for all the things that bring you joy in this NOW moment, invites a deepened awareness to the beauty of this life and all the gifts it has to offer.
2. Gratitude Meditation
This is a powerful practice to increase overall joy and present moment awareness. Whereas in a traditional meditation, we bring awareness to the breath and try to clear the mind, in a gratitude meditation, we visualize all the things in our life that we are thankful for. Taking the time to acknowledge the things we often take for granted (i.e. the ability to breath) brings even more awe-inspired gratitude to our present moment experience. Simply find a comfortable seat or practice lying down. Close your eyes, find your breath and bring to your mind’s eye each person, object or experience you are grateful for. Take your time and give each thing the attention it deserves. Notice the feelings of calm, peace, forgiveness, acceptance and compassion that this practice brings.
3. Gratitude Walk
A gratitude walk is a powerful way to gather feelings of positivity while taking in the beauty and energy of the natural world. Whether it is on the beach, in the mountains, in the park or in an urban area, this practice can be done without any destination in mind, but rather as a way to observe the things around you as you walk. Take everything in with all your senses. Notice the colors, the sounds, the smells, the energies and the feeling of your feet on the earth. Notice your thoughts and direct them toward things you are grateful for. Walking is so therapeutic: it increases endorphins, improves heart health, decreases stress and blood pressure, increases energy and improves mood. Combined with a gratitude practice, walking with this intention increases feelings of well being and overall joy!
The Practice of Gratitude
Practicing gratitude regularly results in long-lasting positive effects on mood and behavior that grow over time. Realizing a daily or weekly gratitude practice requires patience and commitment. This simple tool has the power to unlock the full potential of your Self and your life. When we express gratitude for what we have, we attract even more abundance into our lives. Likewise, once we start acknowledging and expressing our appreciation for the people around us, we amplify the amount of love and joy to share. We invite you to join us for this practice and witness what unfolds!