Gratitude As a Mindfulness Practice: 2 Ways to Give Thanks Every Day by Julie Potiker
This Thanksgiving, Americans will come together with friends and family to celebrate what they’re thankful for – but what about every other day? Research shows that gratitude can make people happier, so why not cultivate more of it?
A simple way to get started with your very own gratitude practice is to keep a journal. Visit your favorite bookstore or craft store and pick out a journal that inspires you. Keep it by your bedside for easy access. Make yourself write longhand instead of typing on a device. The physical act of writing has more benefits for your neural health than typing on a keyboard.
- When you wake up in the morning, write down one or more things about your life that you are grateful for.
- Notice times when you feel joy during the day. Take in the good mental state for a couple of breaths, allowing the mental state to wire into a neural trait. Before you go to bed at night, write down one or more things that happened that day that you’re grateful for or that you enjoyed.
You can write one-word answers or whole paragraphs. The ideas don’t need to be monumental. They could be as simple as gratitude for having a soft pillow. Writing down what you are grateful for, or what you were doing when you felt joy, will open your heart to more happiness.
If you can recreate the feeling of joy in your body when you remember the activity that you are writing about, and you let it fill you up with gladness, you are rewiring your brain for more happiness and resilience a second time from the same joyful activity!
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