With Thanksgiving approaching quickly, this is the season we are reminded to give thanks. The University of California Berkley's Greater Good Science Center sites the following benefits for those who practice gratitude as a habit:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated.
Here are three ways you can begin a Gratitude Practice now, and perhaps build a life-long habit to help you reap the benefits of giving thanks year-round:
1. Write a Daily or Weekly Thank You Note
Think of all the people who have impacted your life or gone out of their way for you. Big or small, you can hand-write a thoughtful letter to family and friends who deserve your appreciation. Or simply jot down a quick note of appreciation for someone you haven't thanked in a while. Keep a running list of people to thank, and schedule the task on your calendar or set a reminder in your phone to keep yourself accountable.
2. Keep A Gratitude Journal
Get yourself a simple notebook to keep at your bedside and jot down a few things every night that you are thankful for. This is a great way to process your day and practice finding the positive in every situation. Try to include something new in your list each day.
3. Savor Small Moments
So often, we get carried away in busy-ness that we neglect the small moments in life. Try to pause at least once each day to be still and notice the beauty around you. Literally, stop and smell the roses. One way to do this would be to set a daily alarm on your phone and whenever it goes off, take a pause to reflect on where you are and what you're doing. If you're folding laundry, take in the warmth of the clothes, appreciate the reliability of your electricity, give thanks for the resources you have to clothe your family, etc.)
Do you have your own gratitude practice? What are you thankful for and how do you actively pursue thankfulness in your life?