Can you believe we are only one month away from Thanksgiving? 2020 and 2021 feel like they have come and gone in the blink of an eye. The pandemic has displaced people’s daily lives from all corners of the globe. Well, the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday is to be thankful! For this month’s Wellness Blog entry, I thought I would go over the benefits of gratitude.
The Science of Practicing Gratitude
Before we go over how you can practice gratitude in your life, we need to properly examine why practicing gratitude is so important. Gratitude is not simply a concept of “being nice” to others like you. There is a direct positive impact on your brain from practicing gratitude and this is backed by scientific research.
What does science say about gratitude? Being gracious in daily life is directly linked to the release of serotonin and dopamine within the brain (makes us happy), the development of new neural connections, and the brain’s ability to practice positive thinking. If you would like to read further into the science behind practicing daily gratitude, I invite you to check out this article for a more in-depth breakdown!
What are the Benefits of Being Regularly Gracious?
Gratitude has a holistic impact on your health, just like my approach to your health and well-being! Let’s go over how gratitude impacts the three pillars of your health. These pillars are the mind, body, and social life.
Gratitude Improves Your Mind: Gratitude helps us achieve true happiness through our ability to practice optimism and selflessness. These traits are commonly found in individuals who are able to properly ward off conditions like anxiety, depression, and mental fatigue.
Gratitude Improves Your Body: Gratitude and its benefits to our mental health have a direct impact on our bodily health by improving stress management and quality of sleep.
Gratitude Improves Your Social Life: Gratitude evokes the personality traits of compassion, empathy, sympathy, loyalty, and responsibility. These are all traits of individuals with a strong social circle and practice leadership in their daily life.
3 Ways to Practice Gratitude in Everyday Life
You are ready to practice more gratitude in your daily life! How do you do it? This list is not the end all be all of the gratitude exercises. Some of my patients need to develop their own unique methods that work specifically for them. Here are three of my personal favourite daily gratitude exercises!
1. Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
One of the most common gratitude exercises out there (and for good reason) is to keep a daily journal with the specific focus of being gracious. By recording all the events that you appreciated in a day, you are forcing your brain to focus on positive thoughts to end each day. This is particularly effective if you have a hard time expressing your gratitude vocally!
2. Try Meditation or Mental Exercises
Gratitude-focused meditation is the mental equivalent of keeping a physical daily journal. Complete this exercise by dedicating space and time each day to release all the stressors in your life and focus only on what makes you happy, proud, and appreciative. Try this meditation if you are looking for a step-by-step gratitude meditation exercise.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable Everyday
The simplest way to add more gratitude into your life is by holding yourself accountable! Turn the monotonous actions of daily life into easy-to-implement actions of gratitude.
- Saying thank you and other words of gratitude.
- Saying words of gratitude to yourself if not out loud.
- Thinking of what good has been done for you instead of by you.
- Setting/using reminders as a means to implement gratitude daily.
- Smile more often!
Time for me to practice a little gratitude exercise myself… thank you for reading this month’s entry to the Wellness Blog! I hope all of my patients and the families of Windsor-Essex County have a wonderful Thanksgiving.