Gratitude is one of the simplest and most effective ways to practice mindfulness. And with that being said, it’s also one of the easiest things to forget about or procrastinate on a daily basis. Having a routine that you can fit in your everyday life, regardless of how big or small, can help keep you on track and focused and it can become one of the best ways to start your day.
Here are some of the easiest gratitude routines to implement to ensure you are practicing gratitude on a daily basis.
- Option 1: Each morning make a list of five things you are grateful for. This way you remind yourself of all of the positive things in your life before you go out to start your day. (To make sure you do not feel rushed and skip over it, try setting your alarm a little earlier than normal!)
- Option 2: Create prompts for yourself to help realize different things you are grateful for. The easiest way to do this is to write “I’m grateful for 3 things…” and you could say “that are blue” or “I can smell”, “in my home.” You can take it whichever way you’d to help keep it interesting if you get tired of doing the same thing each morning.
- Gratitude Jar. Find a jar (decorate it if you would like). Then each day write three things down that you realize you are grateful for as the day goes on, and then at night put whatever you wrote on in the jar. Then if you ever need a quick pick me up you can take a few out and read them to remind yourself of the positives in your life.
- Gratitude letter. Pick a family member you deeply care about and write a detailed letter to them talking about how glad you are to have them in your life. (If you want to give it to them in person it can give you extra positive feelings when you see their reaction!)
- Meditation. Instead of concentrating on breathing like normal meditation, concentrate on the things in your life you are grateful for.
Are there health benefits to doing a gratitude routine?
Yes! Lots of them!
- It can help you feel more grounded and emotionally stable throughout the day. Constantly looking at the positives in life instead of dwelling on the negatives allows for a more consistent day emotionally.
- A gratitude routine can make you more productive in a shorter amount of time. Being more positive gives you more energy which allows you to do more in a shorter period of time!
- It can give you more a more confident and less fearful mindset. If you are thinking about all of the good things in your life, you will be more confident. You’ll think you already have all these good things, and you will not be afraid of going to get them. Doing things for people has shown to improve your mood due to an increased positive affect.
- It can improve your relationships. Having a positive energy infects those around you, and makes others feel better as well, and a gratitude journal gives you that positive energy. It has been shown that people who gratitude journal show more support to others, and people think they are more pleasant to be around as a whole.
- Being positive can help make lasting friendships. Studies have shown that people are more wanting to be in long term friendships with people who say “Thank you.” As a bonus, studies have shown that you have a lesser chance of heart disease if you have a stronger network of family and friends!
- It can even improve your physical health! People have reported feeling less aches and pains, and feel better about their health as a whole when they have a gratitude routine. Gratitude routines have also been shown to lower blood pressure and improve immune function. Oxytocin, which is released when we feel emotional warmth, is released during a gratitude routine. It has been shown to reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, meaning it literally makes your heart healthier! Studies have also shown that grateful people exercise 33% more per week!
- It also can improve your mental health! A gratitude routine gets you thinking positively, and this puts you in a better mood. If you can consistently see the positives in a situation and think about all the good things going on in your life, you will be a happier person.
- Your mental strength can benefit in addition to your health! It has been shown to make for an easier time recovering from trauma, hard times, or stress. It is much harder to fall from being happy to being depressed than it is from being sad to being depressed. If you have a positive attitude it will not take you as long to bounce back to normal happiness levels.
- A gratitude routine has shown to reduces aggression and increases empathy. Gratitude routines have shown to reduce the chance someone retaliates against someone, and increase the chance they react in a positive way.
- Improved sleep can also be a benefit! A gratitude routine has been shown to help you fall asleep faster, and then have a longer, more relaxing sleep. Studies have also shown that grateful people on average sleep a half hour longer each night.
- Lastly, a gratitude routine can enhance your self-esteem. Showing appreciation for others accomplishments allows you to be grateful. This shows you how much other people are doing things for you, big or small, and gives you a sense of you must be doing something right if everyone is being nice to you.