You might say “thank you” with the intention of making someone else feel good and appreciated, but did you know practicing gratitude benefits YOU just as much as those around you? It’s true!
Now… I know that this whole “gratitude thing” isn’t new to most of you. But the reason you hear about it so often in the wellness space is because it WORKS.
In fact, a gratitude practice can pretty much improve every area of your life. Don’t believe me? Read on!
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
As you might guess, counting your blessings makes you a happier person. Makes sense, right?
But adopting a gratitude practice benefits your health in less obvious ways, too. Some of which may surprise you…
1. Better Physical Health. 🙌
There’s so much evidence supporting this!
In one study, people with a gratitude practice reported having fewer headaches, clearer skin, and reduced congestion. 
And because a gratitude practice lowers stress, it’s also linked to reduced inflammation and blood pressure within the body. 
Not convinced yet?
2. Better Sleep. 🙌
Yep, a gratitude practice is likely to improve your sleep too!
People who practice gratitude report being able to fall asleep more quickly and get higher-quality sleep than those who don’t. 
Makes sense, right? Because when you focus on the positives in your life, you’re naturally leaving less room for worry & stress, helping you sleep deeply all night!
3. Better Relationships. 🙌
Adopting a gratitude practice can strengthen your social life too!
One study found that students who kept a gratitude journal felt a greater sense of belonging at school. 
Another study found that adults who practiced feelings of gratitude were better at forming relationships. 
Regularly showing gratitude to other people in your life lets them know you really do care, which naturally strengthens your relationship.
4. Better Self-Esteem. 🙌
There’s further evidence to show that gratitude reduces the need for social comparisons. 
This helps explain why students who regularly write in a gratitude journal consistently had a more positive experience at school.
When you don’t feel the need to constantly compare yourself to others and you can truly celebrate other people’s accomplishments, your self-esteem improves as well!
Such an amazing benefit, especially since we are constantly bombarded with all kinds of comparisons online and in the media. Time to bring that to an end!
5. Better Emotional Health. 🙌
And of course, adopting a regular gratitude practice improves your emotional health by helping you maintain a positive attitude. 
And who doesn’t want that?
Practicing gratitude is such a simple thing, but it yields a wide array of benefits that positively impact not only your own health, but the people around you.
“Yes please!!” 🙋♀️
But, how do you actually do it?
What Does Practicing Gratitude Look Like?
A gratitude practice doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it should be simple enough that you can easily stick to it! I recommend setting aside some time each week (or every day if possible). Here’s what that could look like:
1. Gratitude Journal
You can purchase a blank journal and dedicate it solely to practicing gratitude. Having a place to collect your thoughts and write them out will help give your new habit greater meaning.
Find a time of day that feels works best for you – maybe with your morning coffee or just before bed – and write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for and why. The “why” is important! For example:
I’m grateful for…
- My dear friend – [insert what you love and appreciate about your friend]
My new office space – [insert what makes you happy about your office space]
My herb garden – [insert all the ways your garden brings you joy]
The purpose of this exercise is to reflect on a few of the wonderful things that happened during the day. It helps you focus on what’s good in your world, even if your day didn’t go as planned.
2. Gratitude Jar
First, find a jar. It can be a standard mason jar or other decorative container, but you’ll want it to be large enough to hold lots of small pieces of paper.
You may want to put a ribbon around the neck of the jar or add a few decorations. Beautify it to your heart’s content – make it something that brings you joy to look at!
Then, every day, write down 1-3 things you’re grateful for (+ why) on different slips of paper, and place them inside the gratitude jar. For example, on the front of your piece of paper, jot down what you’re grateful for. And on the back, write your ‘why.’ It could be something like “my walk to work” or “the relationship I have with my spouse.” Whatever shows up for you.
Keep the jar somewhere you will see it often like the kitchen, your office, or your bedroom. Then, whenever you feel the need for a quick pick-me-up, pull out a few of your gratitude notes to remind yourself what you love about your life.
3. Mealtime Round Robin
Every night, when you sit down for dinner, go around the table and have each person say one thing they’re grateful for. It could be something that happened that same day or several days prior. Whatever feels the most important or inspirational.
Not only does this fun activity create a connection between everyone participating, but it forces you to find something positive that happened during the day – even on the days that don’t turn out the way you want.
Make Your New Habit Stick.
So, now that you have an idea how to begin practicing gratitude, let’s make it stick like glue.
If you’re like most, starting to build a new habit may have ended with a big ‘incomplete’ stamped on your paper. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience again!
The main reason most habits don’t stick is because we set unrealistic goals. 
The key is to start small… like, extremely small. Give yourself permission to allow imperfection – yet aim to be consistent.
For example, you might think that journaling every single morning is a great idea, but is this something you can commit to? Is Monday, Wednesday, Friday more realistic?
You know yourself best, so think it through and set the best goals for you!
Add bonus points if you tell someone else about your new plan!
Practice Gratitude for a Better Life.
The case for gratitude journaling is pretty compelling. Adopting a daily practice of jotting down the things you are grateful for – and why they make you feel that way – can make your life better in so many ways!
So, what are you waiting for??
Let’s get started!