Gratitude…it’s the ultimate cure for a bad mood, stress and worry. Thankfulness moves you away from pessimistic, depressive thoughts and more positively towards happiness, joy and contentment.
We all want more of that in life right?
Every action we take is the result of a thought. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful, as they shape our entire lives. When we choose to lead by our thoughts we can create a truly fulfilling life.
The reason that gratitude is so powerful is because of the important principle that what we focus on increases.
While you can’t always control the thoughts that pop into your head, you can choose what to focus on. As your brain isn’t able to focus on two things at once, when you practise gratitude your perspective shifts and everything changes. Stress hormones decrease, growth hormones increase, your muscles relax. It even transforms the way you move, breathe and interact with others.
Practising gratitude for as little as two minutes a day for 21 days can re-programme your brain by strengthening brain pathways to make you more optimistic over the long term.
Here are 3 practical ways to embrace daily gratitude:
Start the day by casting grateful thoughts back and forwards
First thing in the morning, as part of your daily routine e.g. while showering, eating breakfast or brushing your teeth, take the time to focus on these two things.
Think back to one thing that you are thankful for from the day before, then cast your mind forward to one thing you are looking forward to that day. The key is to be intentional with this practise and to tie it to a specific routine task so that you remember to do it daily!
TOP TIP – A laminated reminder card on the wall of the shower or by the bathroom mirror can help.
Share grateful words with others
Set aside a specific time every day to tell someone the thing you are most grateful for from today. This could be as a family at the dinner table, over the phone with a friend who becomes your gratitude partner, or in bed with your spouse. Take turns to describe in detail the thing you are most grateful for that day and explain how it made you feel and why. This allows your brain to replay the scene and doubles your happiness factor (the brain doesn’t distinguish between the real and replayed version).
End the day with grateful writing
At the end of the day write down a list of all the things you are thankful for. Aim for roughly three to five things, but don’t put a limit on it. Journaling like this is shown to have a profound effect on happiness as it replays the positives, keeps you focused on more of what you want and gives you a reference to look back on, which can be handy in challenging times. Often it is the simple things in life that we are most thankful for. Once you start you will often find that your list is longer than you could have imagined.
Choose the one strategy that most appeals to you. Start using it every day for a week and you will see immediate and significant changes in how you feel.
This will flow on to change how your life unfolds as a result and create a positive spiral leading to even more gratitude!
Lauren Parsons is an award winning Wellbeing Specialist who helps people feel vibrant, confident and energised. Founder of the online programme Get Fit Feel Fabulous and with 16 years’ experience in the health and wellbeing profession she is passionate about equipping and inspiring people to truly boost their health and happiness, for life! Her messages on how to ‘snack on exercise’ and ‘eat real food’ help busy people thrive and feel fabulous.
Get your free copy of Lauren’s eBook on Fitness Myths to Overcome at www.laurenparsons.co.nz