When you’re overwhelmed or stressed out, it’s easy to miss the extraordinary gift of being alive. Practicing gratitude can shift your perspective.
Many studies show that practicing gratitude provides us with a sense of overall well-being. It can also reduce depression and anxiety, lower our risk of disease and flood the brain with feel-good chemicals like serotonin. Regularly acknowledging things you’re thankful for encourages you to be present in the moment and focus on the positive aspects of you life. It can help you bounce back from adversity and develop greater emotional resilience. It often leads to a desire to give back and help others, promoting a sense of community and social connection. And it can strengthen relationships by fostering appreciation and positive communication. Health Essentials offers the following tips from Cleveland Clinic experts for building a daily gratitude practice into your life:
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Some like pen and paper; others may prefer a gratitude app for their phone. Reflect on the good things that are happening in your life first thing in the morning and again before bed. This will not only calm you; it will also help you sleep better.
2. Reach Out to Say "Thanks"
We all have someone who makes our lives better in some way. Call that person up or write them a letter to share how much they mean to you. It will make that person’s day (and yours, too).
3. Eat Mindfully
Your brain needs 20 minutes to register that your stomach is full, so eat slowly. Be aware of, and savor, your meals. Mindful eating is a potent tool for losing weight, improving your metabolism and cultivating gratitude.
4. Support a Great Cause
Studies show that altruism improves well-being, health and longevity. To get those feel-good benefits, write a check to your favorite charity, volunteer for an organization you believe in or help a neighbor or loved one with a task like grocery shopping. It will help you as much as it helps them.
5. Take Five
Before you eat — or whenever you’re stressed out — try this simple one-minute technique to better metabolize your food and lower your stress hormones:
- Take five breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
- Slowly count to five on each in-breath and out-breath.