Summary

Let’s tap into the power of gratitude, not just for Thanksgiving, but all year round. Read up on the benefits of gratitude and learn seven ways to practice gratitude.

While Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when we reflect on all that we are grateful for, it’s so beneficial to make practicing gratitude a year round practice. Gratitude doesn’t require perfection, but it is something worth embracing every day. And like anything you practice, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. With just a few techniques, you can practice gratitude and begin reaping the benefits.

Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude is so good for you! Just as a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, hydration, and positive relationships do the body and mind a myriad of good, so does practicing gratitude.

Boost Physical + Mental Health

Practicing gratitude transforms you into a more resilient person. When you regularly practice gratitude, you are less likely to suffer from chronic pain and more likely to regularly exercise, eat healthier, and get regular preventive care. This correlation is especially true among older adults. But don’t wait until your senior years to practice gratitude. Start today and reap the many long-lasting physical health benefits.

As for mental health benefits, practicing gratitude will give you a self-esteem boost, along with a healthy dose of patience and self-control. It will also help decrease toxic emotions, like envy and regret, and can reduce depression. Amazingly, gratitude even offers some benefit to trauma survivors.

Improve Relationships

When you practice gratitude, bonding happens. It becomes easier to engage with and trust others. It’ll make you more generous, too. Even when people treat you unfairly, you’ll have more resolve to respond with empathy. When you practice gratitude by thanking others, the prosocial behavior spreads — the recipients of your praise become more productive and contribute more to the group.

A tip for holiday gatherings: Fill up your gratitude tank in the days prior so you can stay engaged and openhearted, keep your cool, and spread the love to friends and family. Gratitude is contagious!

Reform Your Finances

If overspending and mindless shopping are habits you want to break, gratitude might help. When you practice gratitude, materialism will lose its grip on you; you’ll be more satisfied with what you have. You’ll also begin to see relationships and time spent with others as more valuable than material things.

How to Practice Gratitude

As for how to actually practice gratitude, we have some super practical tips for you.

1: Try Mindfulness

A buzzword du jour, mindfulness is simply a gentle and non-judgmental awareness of everything that’s happening in the present: your thoughts, your emotions, your bodily sensations, your surroundings, etc. Your focus isn’t on the past or future or maybes or what ifs, but on the actual now. 

Alongside forgiveness, loving-kindness, compassion, acceptance, and best-self visualization, gratitude is considered to be one of the “sisters” of mindfulness. Practicing both yields better outcomes.

With mindfulness as your foundation for practicing gratitude, you can avoid toxic positivity, which denies or minimizes life’s hardships by acknowledging only the good. When we suppress unpleasant feelings and circumstances instead of accepting them, it can skew our perspective, increase stress, and keep us from practicing gratitude from a place of authenticity. Gratitude is most impactful when you’re first mindful of all the good and all the bad.

2: Keep a Gratitude Journal

This technique you get to keep all to yourself. And sure, you can buy a fancy journal for the task, but any notebook will do. Even a digital version works, but don’t underestimate the power of putting pen to paper — it helps you think more deeply and connect the dots, and it can improve mental well-being.

When you practice gratitude by journaling, go for depth. Robert Emmons, a top expert on the science of gratitude, also encourages practitioners to visualize contentment as the goal; get personal by focusing on people, not things; envision what life would be like without certain gifts; take note of surprises; and write entries just once or twice a week.

Not only does this act of journaling help you practice gratitude, but the journal becomes a beneficial tool for years to come. Feeling blue? Jealous? Out of sorts? Page through your journal to remind yourself of how much you have to be grateful for.

3: Focus On The Small Stuff

Even when you’re having a bad day, there’s good stuff to be found. The washing machine may break down, but is the sun shining? Your kids may be bickering or making a mess, but did you have a silly heartwarming exchange with them at breakfast this morning? 

You need not win the lottery in order to practice gratitude. With techniques like mindfulness, whenever your wheels get stuck on bad news and hardship, you can redirect your attention to the small but valuable stuff in your midst that infuses life with love, joy, health, and peace.

4: Reach Out with Acts of Kindness

Doing something kind for someone else is a powerful way to express gratitude. Whether you dedicate an hour a week at your local food bank, ask a neighbor if you can pick up groceries for them, or bake cookies for the ones who deliver your mail or packages, reaching out and doing something will also make you feel better connected to your community. 

With friends and family who don’t live close by, you can still reach out and show kindness in so many ways. 

  • Send a gift card to their favorite restaurant, delivery service, or store. 
  • Pick up your phone and make some calls - hearing someone’s voice saying nice things can be more powerful than reading a text. Also, having a conversation lets you connect in more meaningful ways than a text exchange. 
  • Make a playlist for them with songs that remind you both of a fun vacation you went on together, or songs you listened to when you were roommates. 

5: Make A List

A quick and quantity-driven way to practice gratitude may be just what you need when you can’t fall asleep or when life gets busy. While a gratitude journal aims for depth, a gratitude list aims for breadth. Try it for a week: each night before you go to sleep, make a list of ten good things that happened that day.

This list-making technique is a good method for children and teens who are learning to practice gratitude. Parents are often told to show, not tell their kids how to live a fulfilling and kind life. Let them catch you making a gratitude list, and they may create their own.

6: Send Someone A Thank You Note

Time spent writing a thank you letter benefits not only the note’s recipient, but the writer, too. In one study, when participants in psychotherapy also wrote gratitude notes, they reported significantly better mental health than other groups in the study.

Thank you cards are in need of a revival, and the month of November is a great time to make it happen. Reflect on the people who have been gifts to you this past year. Perhaps your partner, a parent, a child, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker, a teacher, or a healthcare worker comes to mind. Get out your nicest stationery and practice gratitude by writing thank you notes to these individuals. Be descriptive; note the specific, beneficial impact they’ve made on your life. It’ll make their day, and yours.

7: Create A Gratitude Jar

Another great project to do with kids, and this one’s crafty! A gratitude jar serves as a visual reminder of the need to practice gratitude and it facilitates a lovely ritual for your family that’s easy to incorporate into meal times.

First, design your jar. This is a task your family’s little ones will likely happily take on. Grab a jar or a box and decorate it with marker, colored paper, stickers, ribbon, etc. Next, decide on the label. “Gratitude Jar” is simple and self-explanatory, as are “Count Your Blessings” and “I am Thankful for..” 

Now it’s time to fill the jar with small pieces of paper, each one containing a handwritten expression of gratitude. At dinner each night, or at least once per week, takes turns writing down and discussing the best part of your day or week. The grand finale: pick a day to open the jar and take turns reading all the gifts aloud. Some families do this weekly or monthly, others do it annually, often on Thanksgiving.

There’s power in gratitude. This Thanksgiving, claim some of the power for yourself and your family. Choose at least one way to practice gratitude and, over time, watch the benefits of gratitude build in your life. 

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We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Nov 20, 2020
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.
Summary

Let’s tap into the power of gratitude, not just for Thanksgiving, but all year round. Read up on the benefits of gratitude and learn seven ways to practice gratitude.

While Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when we reflect on all that we are grateful for, it’s so beneficial to make practicing gratitude a year round practice. Gratitude doesn’t require perfection, but it is something worth embracing every day. And like anything you practice, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. With just a few techniques, you can practice gratitude and begin reaping the benefits.

Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude is so good for you! Just as a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, hydration, and positive relationships do the body and mind a myriad of good, so does practicing gratitude.

Boost Physical + Mental Health

Practicing gratitude transforms you into a more resilient person. When you regularly practice gratitude, you are less likely to suffer from chronic pain and more likely to regularly exercise, eat healthier, and get regular preventive care. This correlation is especially true among older adults. But don’t wait until your senior years to practice gratitude. Start today and reap the many long-lasting physical health benefits.

As for mental health benefits, practicing gratitude will give you a self-esteem boost, along with a healthy dose of patience and self-control. It will also help decrease toxic emotions, like envy and regret, and can reduce depression. Amazingly, gratitude even offers some benefit to trauma survivors.

Improve Relationships

When you practice gratitude, bonding happens. It becomes easier to engage with and trust others. It’ll make you more generous, too. Even when people treat you unfairly, you’ll have more resolve to respond with empathy. When you practice gratitude by thanking others, the prosocial behavior spreads — the recipients of your praise become more productive and contribute more to the group.

A tip for holiday gatherings: Fill up your gratitude tank in the days prior so you can stay engaged and openhearted, keep your cool, and spread the love to friends and family. Gratitude is contagious!

Reform Your Finances

If overspending and mindless shopping are habits you want to break, gratitude might help. When you practice gratitude, materialism will lose its grip on you; you’ll be more satisfied with what you have. You’ll also begin to see relationships and time spent with others as more valuable than material things.

How to Practice Gratitude

As for how to actually practice gratitude, we have some super practical tips for you.

1: Try Mindfulness

A buzzword du jour, mindfulness is simply a gentle and non-judgmental awareness of everything that’s happening in the present: your thoughts, your emotions, your bodily sensations, your surroundings, etc. Your focus isn’t on the past or future or maybes or what ifs, but on the actual now. 

Alongside forgiveness, loving-kindness, compassion, acceptance, and best-self visualization, gratitude is considered to be one of the “sisters” of mindfulness. Practicing both yields better outcomes.

With mindfulness as your foundation for practicing gratitude, you can avoid toxic positivity, which denies or minimizes life’s hardships by acknowledging only the good. When we suppress unpleasant feelings and circumstances instead of accepting them, it can skew our perspective, increase stress, and keep us from practicing gratitude from a place of authenticity. Gratitude is most impactful when you’re first mindful of all the good and all the bad.

2: Keep a Gratitude Journal

This technique you get to keep all to yourself. And sure, you can buy a fancy journal for the task, but any notebook will do. Even a digital version works, but don’t underestimate the power of putting pen to paper — it helps you think more deeply and connect the dots, and it can improve mental well-being.

When you practice gratitude by journaling, go for depth. Robert Emmons, a top expert on the science of gratitude, also encourages practitioners to visualize contentment as the goal; get personal by focusing on people, not things; envision what life would be like without certain gifts; take note of surprises; and write entries just once or twice a week.

Not only does this act of journaling help you practice gratitude, but the journal becomes a beneficial tool for years to come. Feeling blue? Jealous? Out of sorts? Page through your journal to remind yourself of how much you have to be grateful for.

3: Focus On The Small Stuff

Even when you’re having a bad day, there’s good stuff to be found. The washing machine may break down, but is the sun shining? Your kids may be bickering or making a mess, but did you have a silly heartwarming exchange with them at breakfast this morning? 

You need not win the lottery in order to practice gratitude. With techniques like mindfulness, whenever your wheels get stuck on bad news and hardship, you can redirect your attention to the small but valuable stuff in your midst that infuses life with love, joy, health, and peace.

4: Reach Out with Acts of Kindness

Doing something kind for someone else is a powerful way to express gratitude. Whether you dedicate an hour a week at your local food bank, ask a neighbor if you can pick up groceries for them, or bake cookies for the ones who deliver your mail or packages, reaching out and doing something will also make you feel better connected to your community. 

With friends and family who don’t live close by, you can still reach out and show kindness in so many ways. 

  • Send a gift card to their favorite restaurant, delivery service, or store. 
  • Pick up your phone and make some calls - hearing someone’s voice saying nice things can be more powerful than reading a text. Also, having a conversation lets you connect in more meaningful ways than a text exchange. 
  • Make a playlist for them with songs that remind you both of a fun vacation you went on together, or songs you listened to when you were roommates. 

5: Make A List

A quick and quantity-driven way to practice gratitude may be just what you need when you can’t fall asleep or when life gets busy. While a gratitude journal aims for depth, a gratitude list aims for breadth. Try it for a week: each night before you go to sleep, make a list of ten good things that happened that day.

This list-making technique is a good method for children and teens who are learning to practice gratitude. Parents are often told to show, not tell their kids how to live a fulfilling and kind life. Let them catch you making a gratitude list, and they may create their own.

6: Send Someone A Thank You Note

Time spent writing a thank you letter benefits not only the note’s recipient, but the writer, too. In one study, when participants in psychotherapy also wrote gratitude notes, they reported significantly better mental health than other groups in the study.

Thank you cards are in need of a revival, and the month of November is a great time to make it happen. Reflect on the people who have been gifts to you this past year. Perhaps your partner, a parent, a child, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker, a teacher, or a healthcare worker comes to mind. Get out your nicest stationery and practice gratitude by writing thank you notes to these individuals. Be descriptive; note the specific, beneficial impact they’ve made on your life. It’ll make their day, and yours.

7: Create A Gratitude Jar

Another great project to do with kids, and this one’s crafty! A gratitude jar serves as a visual reminder of the need to practice gratitude and it facilitates a lovely ritual for your family that’s easy to incorporate into meal times.

First, design your jar. This is a task your family’s little ones will likely happily take on. Grab a jar or a box and decorate it with marker, colored paper, stickers, ribbon, etc. Next, decide on the label. “Gratitude Jar” is simple and self-explanatory, as are “Count Your Blessings” and “I am Thankful for..” 

Now it’s time to fill the jar with small pieces of paper, each one containing a handwritten expression of gratitude. At dinner each night, or at least once per week, takes turns writing down and discussing the best part of your day or week. The grand finale: pick a day to open the jar and take turns reading all the gifts aloud. Some families do this weekly or monthly, others do it annually, often on Thanksgiving.

There’s power in gratitude. This Thanksgiving, claim some of the power for yourself and your family. Choose at least one way to practice gratitude and, over time, watch the benefits of gratitude build in your life. 

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Nov 20, 2020
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.