Cultivating an attitude of ongoing gratitude for the blessings in your life has been clinically proven to increase happiness, improve sleep and strengthen the immune system. Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal of brief thankful notes can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up”. – Eckhart Tolle
If you are like me, however, grumbling about life’s challenges often drowns out appreciation for the gifts of the day. Deliberately practicing gratitude helps me stay more balanced and positive.
How can you develop a practice of daily gratitude? The key is to have a variety of approaches and to cycle through them so that nothing gets stale. Here are some ideas:
- Keep a gratitude journal – Use this to bring your attention to the gifts of the day and of your life. Do this at the same time each day (just before bed?) keep it simple, unique to the day and make your entries brief. Look for new things to be grateful for each day to keep your brain fresh.
- Keep a gratitude jar for really special events – Write down the blessing, put it in the jar, and at the end of the year, read through these!
- Speak your gratitude about something to a friend.
- Share a gratitude on social media.
- Write a gratitude letter to someone to whom you have never adequately expressed your thanks.
- Let a loved one know how grateful you are for them.
- Give special thanks to another for their service.
Keep mixing it up so that you keep a fresh eye out for the blessings in your life and enjoy the benefits!