Be Intentional About Practicing Gratitude

It is that time of year where many of us begin to focus on what we are thankful for. This year, things might look different, but it is important to find even small things to be extra grateful for. Did you know that this may be beneficial  to your health? According to Psychology Today, being grateful can improve one's physical and mental health, increase empathy, reduce aggression, improve sleep, and improve self esteem. Is practicing gratitude something you would like to do more of? Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Start keeping track of what you are grateful for. This can be through a gratitude jar where you write what you are grateful for on a slip of paper and place it in a jar to take out and reflect on later. Or you can start a gratitude journal where you simply write what you are thankful for in a notebook. 
     
  • Keep it simple. Sometimes the small things in our lives are the best things. So remember when practicing gratitude, it is okay to remember and reflect on the little things. 
     
  • Be kind to yourself. Especially in the beginning, you may struggle to come up with things you appreciate in your life. You may also have a bad day where it seems impossible to express gratitude. In these moments, remember to be kind to yourself.
     
  • Consider a gratitude buddy. Engage in a gratitude activity, such as the jar or journal, with someone you are close with -- maybe a close friend, significant other or roommates.
     
  • Give back. This may not be as simple as it once was, but if the opportunity arises and you are able, consider giving back to others or volunteering as a way to express your gratitude. 
POSTED: Monday, November 2, 2020 - 11:57am
UPDATED: Monday, November 2, 2020 - 11:57am
WRITTEN BY:
BETHANIE MAUERMAN, LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR, AND DOCTORAL STUDENT, HEALTH EDUCATION AND PROMOTION