Practicing Gratitude


This is the time of year when as a country we gather together and give thanks for what we have. As parents, we are often heard telling our children they should be grateful. This is sound wisdom and further helps to set an example for children when we follow our own advice. A gratitude practice helps to raise the vibe around you and make you a healthy and happy human.

To feel grateful is to find the blessing in everything. It requires letting go of what you think your life should look like and being happy and thankful for what you have. The more you practice, the stronger it grows. You can actually rewire your brain to be happy by simply recalling 3 things that make you feel grateful everyday for 21 days.

Gratitude can make you healthier. It reduces the stress hormones in our bodies and helps to calm us down. This assists in lowering blood pressure and heart rate variability, promoting a healthy heart. The habit of keeping a nightly gratitude list improves the duration and quality of sleep. Gratitude is linked with optimism, which improves the immune system’s ability to increase white blood cells to fight disease. When we are in a state of appreciation we breathe easier and make better choices. Grateful people tend to exercise more and take better overall care of their health and well being.

A state of gratitude builds mental resistance. Like a muscle, it grows stronger the more you use it. Grateful people tend to have higher levels of empathy and lower levels of aggression. By dramatically reducing toxic emotions like envy, resentment and regret, those living in a state of gratitude enjoy improved self esteem and lower levels of depression.

It is easy to bring gratitude into your everyday life and you quickly begin to reap the rewards. This is the perfect time to introduce a gratitude practice to your family and start a tradition that will benefit all. The written word is powerful. Jotting down your thoughts in a journal helps you pause and focus on all the good in your life. You can create a gratitude jar by turning a simple container into a place where family members write a thank you note each day. At the end of the week, year or month sit down as a family and take the time to read and reflect.

Often we forget to express gratitude to those around us. Verbally thanking someone helps the recipient and the giver feel good and brings more grace into our world. Thank your own body by practicing self love and self care. When we take the time for ourselves the gratitude nourishes all areas of our life. Shifting our focus and attention on what we already have has the effect of increasing our abundance. Send your love out to the world with specific and intentional meditation. We are taught in our world that we must strive to be and acquire more, but true wealth happens when we are content and happy with what we have.