With the holidays rapidly approaching, you’re bound to see an overload of social media and marketing, commercializing gratitude. While it’s ‘tis the season to be thankful for our health, connections, and everything we hold dear, the holidays aren’t the only time you should practice gratitude.
Practicing gratitude has many different benefits in your personal and professional life, as well as positive impacts on your emotional, mental, and physical health. And the best news is you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving or the holidays to start. Engage in gratitude regularly and feel the benefits firsthand.
But what are these benefits? Why should you practice gratitude, and how do you get started? One way our practice is expressing our gratitude for our clients, colleagues, and community at large, is to share our answers to these questions.
Why Should You Practice Gratitude?
As we mentioned, practicing gratitude can have positive impacts and measurable benefits in every aspect of your life. Life feels more satisfying, your self-esteem gets a boost, and overall, it encourages happiness. “We often navigate the world without a true presentness into how we’re feeling or what we’re noticing. Having a gratitude practice, like a journal, pushes you to notice amazing things that are happening that you otherwise take for granted,” says Mental Health Counselor Zainah Ben Essa.
Getting Through Hard Times and Boosting Positive Emotions
“Gratitude is so important because it keeps us going through those darker, challenging moments. It fills up our cup and builds our resilience and positive emotions, making the good days even better, and the bad days feel a little less daunting,” Licensed Mental Health Counselor Amy DeBlase, shares.
“It’s important to emphasize it is not solely a cognitive exercise. While you can think about and list three things I’m grateful for, the full benefit from a gratitude practice should aim to invoke those warm, fuzzy feelings as well,” she adds.
How Can You Practice Gratitude?
Practicing gratitude will look different for everyone, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. You can make it a verbal, daily affirmation or turn it into a writing practice. Some people incorporate movement into their gratitude practice which can give you a mental and physical boost.
Write It Down
Try writing down one thing you’re grateful for at the end of each day, especially focusing on any good resulting from a difficult situation. “For me, it’s a daily reminder that there are positive forces in the world alongside the negative stuff. In fact, with the right support and approach, growth itself can come from struggle,” shares Brian Levkovich, Psy.D.
“My favorite gratitude practice is starting off the day with a morning walk on the pier with my coffee and using that time to notice the nature around me and all that it gives me – like the sunshine. Subsequently, it brings other beautiful parts of life into focus, like my family, my job, and my partner. Gratitude practice helps me stay grounded with the things that deeply matter to me and strengthen my foundation for hardship,” shares Olivia Verhulst, Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
Getting your body moving, no matter how you do it, can be the spark to light up your gratitude practice. “Gratitude is an action that brings pure joy into my day. Try a walking meditation– a barefoot walk of gratitude, if you will,” Kim Mintzer, Mental Health Counselor, shares. “Walking meditation involves deliberate movements which connect you to the earth. I am thanking the earth for continuing to support me. The air that I inhale as I lift my foot from that earth is nourishing me, and for that, I am grateful.”
What Are You Grateful For?
There is no one-size-fits-all reason to feel grateful. For some, it might be a significant accomplishment, like meeting major life milestones or something going incredibly right. But for others, it’s all about the small things. No matter how big or how small, feeling gratitude can make a world of difference.
“I’m grateful for my wonderful family and family gatherings on holidays, my amazing network of friends, the time I had, and lessons I learned from my late father.” – Brian
“I hope this doesn’t sound too corny, but I’m forever grateful for the job that I have. Words fall short to express the gratitude I have for my clients for letting me into the most vulnerable and difficult moments of their lives and then for taking me along their journey of growth and healing.” – Amy
So, there you have it from the clinicians you know and trust, that not only do they encourage you to start a gratitude practice but how they incorporate it into their routines as well. What are you grateful for? How do you practice gratitude? Share it with us in the comments–you never know who you might inspire.
Our therapists here at Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness are committed to helping you live a life that is satisfying and boost your self-esteem. Feel confident and secure in your relationships. Call, text, or email us.