5 Ways to Add Gratitude to Your Week
As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, this is the ideal time to pause and reflect on all the positive things in life. With so many activities filling up your daily calendar it can be easy to forget that, on your absolute worst day, there’s likely still quite a bit that’s going well. Taking time to feel gratitude for your blessings has numerous benefits, including improved physical health, reduced depression, better sleep and brain function, and more patience and self-esteem. Expressing gratitude is also great way to build stronger relationships with the people in your life. To get your gratitude flowing, here are a few ideas that can help you highlight what’s good in your life.
Say thanks. In addition to the love and support of your friends and family, there are countless people whose job is to help you learn and grow. Coaches, teachers, parents, counselors are all working to help you develop into a better, stronger, faster, smarter person. Instead of taking them for granted, now is a perfect time to reach out and express a kind word of thanks. Send a note, make a quick phone call or – better yet – tell them in person.
Write it down. Keeping a gratitude journal is a powerful way of focusing your mind on the good things that happen each day. This simple habit has been shown to lower stress and improve your outlook on life. An added bonus of keeping a gratitude journal is that the more you pay attention to the positive, the more you train your brain to interpret experiences with optimism, creating an optimistic snowball effect that magnifies over time.
Watch an uplifting movie. Pop some popcorn and grab a seat on the couch for a positive flick like Fearless or It’s a Wonderful Life. Watching a movie that emphasizes positive character strengths and overcoming adversity can activate your imagination and help you get in the mood for gratitude.
Listen to inspiring music. Pick a song or playlist that helps you reflect on things that you admire or treasure. Let the music draw you in and help you experience the beauty of seeing life through the eyes of appreciation. This energizing time-out is sure to improve your day.
Meditate. It can be tempting to prioritize getting stuff done over savoring what’s happening in the moment, but when we do that we can miss out on what Thich Nhat Hahn calls, “our appointment with life.” Instead, take a few minutes each day to quiet your mind and reflect on the beauty of nature, enjoy the smile of someone you love or just savor the process of breathing in and out. Or try gratitude meditation, a simple practice that can have profound benefits for your happiness and well-being.
With just a few small changes to your daily routine you can create big improvements in your mental and physical health, strengthen your relationships and develop a more positive outlook on life. Don’t worry, you don’t need to do everything on the list to start feeling better. Begin by adding just one of these habits to your day and try something new if and when it feels right. The important thing is just to focus some attention on gratitude and enjoy the results.
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Eva Bart-Williams is a mental performance coach with a private practice helping individuals and teams achieve big goals. Eva is also CBW Soccer Elite’s head of operations, where she helps athletes embrace the challenges of high-level competition and advises families on the college soccer recruitment process. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.