Did you know that the practice of gratitude can actually affect your health in some crazy cool ways?
Robert Emmons, a professor of Psychology at UC Davis, said that gratitude, “can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep.” And that’s not all! The University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that, “People who [are] more grateful actually [have] better heart health…less inflammation, and healthier heart rhythms.”
Um, who doesn’t want better sleep and a healthier heart?! Gratitude is such a simple way to help your body feel awesome and accomplish your goals. Gratitude can even improve your self-esteem! That’s right, just the act of being grateful can help you to stop comparing yourself to others and to start appreciating others accomplishments in a real genuine way.
I think we all know how to be grateful sometimes, but it’s a whole different thing to become a full-time, all-the-time grateful person. I definitely do my fair share of complaining and comparing, but starting a gratitude practice has really helped me notice the little things in my life that I can be grateful for.
Being grateful for those little things can start to transform your whole life–you’ll be crazy grateful all the time soon enough!
5 Steps to Start Up a Gratitude Practice
1.Pick a time, morning, afternoon or night.
One super important part of having a gratitude practice is repetition. Choose a time of the day that works best for you on a regular basis to take 10 or 15 minutes for this practice. I like to do a gratitude practice in the morning right before my workout.
2. Go off by yourself for a walk or to a quiet place in your home.
Get away from your distractions, whether it be the dishes or the kids or a huge mess in the living room. You can sit in your bed, go on a walk, or wherever you feel the most comfortable
3. Write grateful thoughts in a gratitude journal.
Some people just think about the things they are grateful for, but I like to write them down. I just love seeing the words on a page, and I can look back at them when I’m feeling down and complaining. Write for as long or as little as you like, but I challenge you to fill up a whole page every single day! It’s fun, and it makes you really have to think hard about all of the awesome things in your life.
4. Write down your good goals for the future.
This is where it gets fun. Think about what goals you are working towards. Are you working on better nutrition, potty training a kid, starting a business venture, or just trying to keep the house clean for today? Write it down as though it has already happened, like this: “I am grateful that I stuck to my meal plan today and I am grateful that I always speak kindly to my kids.” This will help you visualize all of the awesome things you can do every day, and it can help you feel more positive about the future.
5. Rinse and repeat!
Like I said in Step 1, the most important part of a gratitude practice is repetition! Keep it up, don’t quit! If you miss a day, don’t get discouraged. You can always start again the next day.