What is Gratitude and How You Can Start Practicing It
“Gratitude” is sometimes a difficult concept for us to grapple with. It involves acknowledging both the difficult and the good aspects of life, and how often we are consumed by one or the other. And we get it, life can be tough, especially tough after the last few years, but working on changing your mindset can have massive, positive, outcomes. By incorporating the practice of gratitude in our everyday lives, we focus our thoughts and emotions towards the more useful, or ‘good’, aspects of life.
Studies have shown that gratitude can actually change the structure of our brains, making us happier and more resilient in the face of stress. And what’s most amazing about it is that anyone can learn to do this, and practice it anytime, anywhere.
Gratitude is a path to inner peace. It is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always seeking for something new in the hope that it will make them happy, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. It is a way to slow down and focus your inner thoughts about your life.
If you’re keen to learn the what, the how and the why’s then keep reading below. We’re excited to have you on this journey with us.
What is gratitude?
In the simplest explanation, gratitude is the feeling of appreciation or thanks. It can be directed towards people, things, or experiences. It can be both an inward, and an outward, emotion to be felt and experienced. But why is it important, and why should you be grateful?
Gratitude has been linked with increased levels of happiness and well-being. Practicing gratitude can help you reframe your outlook on life, and see the positive aspects of your life more clearly. It can also help shift your focus from material possessions to experiences and relationships.
In a nutshell, positive emotions, good experiences, improved health, and building strong relationships are all linked to practicing gratitude.
How can you start practicing gratitude?
One way to start practicing gratitude is using our Guided Gratitude Packs. Every day, write down one thing that you are grateful for. You can be grateful for anything, no matter how small. For example, you might be grateful for your morning cup of coffee, a good workout, or a sunny day.
Another way to practice gratitude is to take time each day to reflect on what went well. This could be something as simple as a kind act from a stranger or a challenging situation that you overcame. Think about how these moments made you feel, and why you are grateful for them.
Finally, try to show gratitude to others in your life. Thank friends and family members for their support, remind your partner how you feel about them and express appreciation for acts of kindness.
Three benefits of daily practice
When you make practicing gratitude a part of your life, you’re likely to start to experience these benefits:
- Increased happiness: Gratitude has been linked to increased happiness and well-being. One study found that people who practice gratitude report more positive emotions, greater satisfaction with their lives, and are more likely to help others.
- Improved physical health: Gratitude has also been linked with better physical health. One study found that grateful people reported fewer aches and pains, and they were also more likely to take care of their health. Other studies have shown that gratitude is linked with lower blood pressure, improved heart health, and a stronger immune system.
- Greater resilience: Grateful people are more resilient in the face of stress and adversity. One study found that gratitude was associated with greater coping skills and a more optimistic outlook during difficult times.
Ways to practice on a daily basis
- Using your Pause.Penny Gratitude Pack: To begin, write down one thing you’re grateful for each day, no matter how big or small, but they should be something that really matters to you. Over time, you’ll start to notice patterns in what makes you happy and what doesn’t.
- Express your gratitude to others: Whether it’s a colleague who held the lift for you or a friend who listened to you vent about your day, take a minute to let them know you appreciate them. A little appreciation can go a long way and has multi-benefits, both for you expressing gratitude, but also for the person receiving the thanks.
- Perform random acts of kindness: Pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else, with no expectation of anything in return. It could be as simple as buying a coffee for the person in line behind you, having dinner ready for when your partner gets home, or helping colleague with finishing a difficult task.
- Meditate on gratitude: Set aside some time each day to sit quietly and reflect on the things and people in your life that you’re thankful for. For added peace of mind, try listening to a guided meditation specifically on gratitude. For some people first thing in the morning is the perfect time to do this, but if you’re not a morning person, or if you’re children are up and at’em with no time to spare, that’s OK, you just find the perfect time for you.
- And a way to bring the whole family into practicing gratitude easily is to give thanks before meals: Before digging into lunch or dinner, take a moment to pause and express gratitude for the food in front of you. Simples.
If you’re finding it hard to think of things to be grateful for to kickstart your journey, then let us give you some suggestions.
Prompts for Daily Gratitude Practice:
- Your family
- Your friendship groups
- A morning sea swim
- Your first hot cup of tea in the morning
- A rain free commute to work
- Your favorite song coming on the radio
- Getting your steps in before the end of the day
- A project completed at work
- Listening to children playing in a park
- Your bedtime routine, whether it’s falling face first, or an hour of skincare and green tea
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can have a profound effect on our lives. When we are grateful for what we have, we are more likely to be happy and content with our lives. We really hope that this article has inspired you to start practicing gratitude in your own life so that you can experience all its amazing benefits.
Our gratitude today is to you for taking the time to read this article today!