When it comes to practicing gratitude, there are many creative forms. Here are some suggestions, collected from browsing the webiverse, that you might like to try.
Why practice gratitude? UCLA Health reports that a review of 70 studies that include responses from more than 26,000 people found an association between higher levels of gratitude and lower levels of depression. A regular practice of being thankful may:
- Lessen anxiety. …
- Support heart health. …
- Relieve stress. …
- Improve sleep.
Gratitude is linked to increased happiness and improved relationships, according to Harvard Health. It’s well worth spending some effort to figure out what works best for you. Here are some ideas for practicing gratitude (gathered from my experience, Choosing Therapy, and Positive Psychology):
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. … Take a few minutes on a regular basis to write about your blessings. Describe them as vividly as you can. Review your gratitude Journal often to deepen your appreciation.
- Remember the Bad. … Think about tough times you’ve had in the past and how you got through them. Who and what helped you get to better times? What is present in your life now that makes it better? Remembering the path you’ve traveled helps you appreciate where you are now.
- Ask Yourself Three Questions. … Reviewyour close relationships, past and present, and ask yourself: what have I received from this person? What have I given to this person? What troubles have we overcome?
- Share Your Gratitude with Others. … Doing a gratitude practice with a buddy helps both of you remember to practice, find more to be grateful about, and strengthens and deepens your relationship.
- Come to Your Senses. … What beautiful sights do you see? What lovely sounds do you hear? What delicious things have you tasted? What tantalizing aromas have you smelled? What intriguing textures do you feel? Dropping into your sensory experience helps you remember that the world is a beautiful place.
- Use Visual Reminders. … Post pictures of things for which you are grateful and/or quotes about gratitude where you will see them as you go about your day. Even quick flashes of gratitude affect your mood.
- Let people remind you… Each time you interact with or think about someone, give thanks for their presence in your life. (If you are interacting with them, thanked them for something specific you appreciate about them.)
- Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. … Research shows that taking an oath to perform a new behavior increases the likelihood that you will do it. Your vow can be as simple as “I will count my blessings at the end of each day.”
- Link new habits to old ones… You probably already have some well-established habits like brushing your teeth, drinking water, getting ready for sleep. Choose to pair one or more of those frequently repeated behaviors with being grateful. I.e. “as I brush my teeth, I will count my blessings.”
- keep a gratitude jar… Get a container, some slips of paper, and a pen or pencil and keep them where you will see and use them. Write a blessing when it happens and keep it in the jar. At the end of the year (or month or quarter), you can review your blessings and feel grateful all over again.
- Notice loveliness… As you go through your day, notice what wonderful about it and give thanks on the spot. The warm water in your shower, the minty flavor of your toothpaste, the factory workers who boxed up your cereal and so on. Make a game of it: how many times in one day can you think “what a blessing!”
- Go for a gratitude walk… Go for a leisurely walk and notice everything around you for which you are grateful.
These are just a few ideas for practicing gratitude. If none of these strikes you, more ideas are only a Google away. What practices resonate with you? Give them a try for a few days or weeks or cycle through them all and discover what works for you.
Do you have a creative way of practicing gratitude not mentioned? Leave a comment below and share it with us!
In your journal:
- Which practices would you like to try?
- Write about one thing for which you are grateful. Describe it in as much detail as you can.
- Make a list of people who have been important to you. What lessons did they teach? How did you feel when you were with them? (Note that these can be authors or teachers you’ve never met.)