In just 10 minutes a day you could start feeling happier, more content with your life, and more appreciative of everyone around you. That’s exactly what can happen when you begin a daily gratitude practice.
By shifting your outlook to one of gratitude and consistently expressing your appreciation for your life, you’ll likely start seeing the world in a more positive light. This simple change in perspective is easy to achieve — you can start with an activity such as a journal entry about what you’re thankful for each day.
How Can Gratitude Benefit You?
There are many ways that an attitude of gratitude can benefit your life. Studies have even shown that thankfulness and the expression of gratitude can have profound effects on health, moods, and interpersonal relationships.
Relationships benefit from gratitude: Feeling and expressing gratitude can help build and strengthen relationships of all kinds. Gratitude helps you connect with others, and makes others feel appreciated by you.
Gratitude boosts self-esteem: Focusing on all the good things about yourself can help you appreciate who you are. Having gratitude for your strengths helps to boost self-esteem. While everything about ourselves may not be perfect, being aware of what we’re great at and giving ourselves thanks and recognition is powerful for boosting self-esteem.
Health benefits of gratitude: Surprisingly, an attitude of gratitude has been found to help with sleep, anxiousness and stress levels, and other health benefits! Gratitude creates a surge of brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, and these chemicals make you happy. Focusing on the good things in life helps release negative emotions.
Satisfaction with your life: One of the keys to enjoying life is appreciating what you have! It is important to take stock of your experiences, the joys in your life, and all the good things that you already have. Continuously reminding yourself of what you already have, instead of focusing on what you don’t, can bring more happiness and satisfaction to your life.
Learn more about the emotion of gratitude on our blog: Defining Emotions: Gratitude
How to Start a Gratitude Practice
By focusing on the positive, you invite more positivity into your life. Gratitude is a habit you can cultivate, like brushing your teeth or drinking enough water! By taking time each and every day to focus on gratitude for all that you have, you’ll start to appreciate the gifts in your life even more.
There are many different ways to start a gratitude practice, but one of the simplest is to try gratitude journaling. All you need in order to get started is a piece of paper and a pen. You might choose a nice journal to write in each day. There are some journals that are created with gratitude prompts already included that might make it easier to begin. Then, simply start by writing down a few things you’re grateful for. Go into as much detail as you can. If you feel stumped getting started, that’s okay, give yourself time. As you practice gratitude more frequently, you’ll likely be able to identify things you’re grateful for with ease. By shifting your focus to what you’re grateful for, you’ll start to see all the blessings in your life more clearly.
Below you’ll find a few writing prompts to get you started, all focused on gratitude:
Write about a person in your life who you’re thankful for.
What skills or abilities do you have that you’re grateful for?
Write a note to someone who you’re grateful for (bonus points if you share the note with them!).
What positive changes in your life have happened in the last year?
What is something you’re grateful to have learned this week?
What are you thankful for about the city you live in?
What does your body allow you to do that you’re grateful for?
Write about something that you have been taking for granted, that you’re glad is part of your life.
Try this gratitude journaling exercise every day and see how you feel! Notice if you begin to become more aware of the good things in your life. As you take time each day to shift your outlook to one of gratitude, and as you consistently express your appreciation, perhaps you’ll begin to feel more satisfied with the life you live!