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The Practice of Gratitude by Maddison Wittmann

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful, and the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

In today’s society, we live on-the-go lifestyles, constantly racing from one task to another. Most of us forget to take a moment at the end of each day to reflect and show gratitude.

Some may be thinking, but I’m already grateful, I know I live a fortunate life.

And yes, you most likely already know that you’re thankful, but do you show it?

Many of us don’t realise the number of benefits practising gratitude has, and these are just a few of them!

• Increases happiness.
• Strengthens our emotions.
• Makes us more optimistic.
• Reduces materialism.
• Increases self-esteem.

There are plenty of different ways to practice gratitude, some will work for you, some won’t, which is fine. What matters is that you find what works for you.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Journaling

My personal favourite, I’ve created a ritual where each night before bed, I take some time to write down my thoughts, worries or events from the day. At the end of each entry, I write ‘Things that I’m grateful for today’ and list anything I’m thankful for, from experiences, to people, to the weather.

Remember when writing your list, there’s no correct amount, some days you might find ten things to be grateful for, and some days it might be two.

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Gratitude Diary

A gratitude diary is similar to journaling, but solely dedicated to listing things you’re grateful for.

You can buy specific gratitude diaries where each day you simply jot down a few things you’re grateful for or more detailed ones with prompts and readings.

I love this one but there are plenty of others out there!

Meditation

Meditation is a practice with many benefits, and can be for all different intentions, including gratitude.

You may choose to do something short, such as finding a quiet space, sitting with your eyes closed, breathing deeply, and spending a few minutes to reflect and focus on the things you’re grateful for. Your thoughts will wander to other places, but always try to bring your mind back to the things your grateful for. Spend a few moments here, appreciating and thanking those things. There are plenty of Coping Toolkit articles on The Psychology of It website to help you get started, just search ‘mindfulness’.

Or, you may like to begin with an audio guide. I like this one, but there are plenty of other online guides or on meditation apps.

Mantras

Mantras are a really powerful tool of empowerment and positivity, and you can also use them for your gratitude practice!

If you’re someone who struggles to find the time to sit down and write, you may wish to verbally chant your mantras, in a private space. If you don’t have a private space, you may do so in your head.

For example, you’ve had a busy day, you finally get in to bed ready for a restful night’s sleep, but just before you lie down, you sit on your bed, and say to yourself out loud...

“Today I am grateful for the sunrise I saw when going for a walk.

Today I am grateful for my best friend who showed their support.

Today I am grateful for my gym instructor who pushed me that bit further.”

After continuing this practice, notice how you sleep afterwards.

I encourage you to give gratitude practice a go, it might feel silly at first, but watch as you grow and find different things to be grateful for.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this, just give it a go, chances are you’ll end up like me and as you go through your day you’ll notice things you’re grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to share my ideas with you.

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