A Simple Guide to Practising Gratitude
What are the benefits of practicing gratitude?
Getting motivated to practice gratitude is the very first step. So, where better to start than to look at what the possible benefits are?
People who practice gratitude daily have said they’ve felt the below benefits:
- A stronger immune system
- Better sleep
- Increased experience of positive emotions
- More focus and enjoyment for being in the moment
- Increased optimism
- Improvements in psychological and physical health
- Feeling more empathetic
- Improvements in self-esteem
There is widespread science that backs the above evidence but even without it, acknowledging you’re grateful for something like a bit of sunshine isn’t likely to cause any damage, and when the above benefits are a possibility it’s definitely worth a try! Let’s get started on the how.
How to practice gratitude
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to start you off on your gratitude journey.
Choose somewhere you’d like to log your gratitude
It may be in a personal journal, in the notes section in your phone, or on a small slip of paper you keep in your purse/wallet. You may even want to start a dedicated gratitude journal. The key point here is that you have somewhere that you can write down your thoughts, look back, smile and reflect on all that you have to be grateful for.
Get comfortable, because here comes the fun part
Start to reflect on the things that you’re grateful for. Here are a few questions to help get you thinking:
- What has made you smile in the past week?
- Who makes your life easier?
- What was the last meal you really enjoyed?
- What parts of yourself do you love?
- What are your fondest memories?
- Has a TV show made you laugh today?
These types of questions can help you to find things that you’re grateful for, for example:
My neighbour took a parcel for me this week when I wasn’t around and brought it to my house when I was in, we had a chat and this made me smile.
From this, we can be grateful for the kindness of our neighbour, or the community we live in.
Once you have got the juices flowing, note down the date and begin to list
Now, this doesn’t have to be a long list; practising gratitude works regardless of whether you only note one thing down or you have a multitude. Start small and try to pick one-to-three things a day that you’re grateful for. We’d recommend keeping to an achievable number of points in order to not overwhelm yourself.
Here’s an example:
4th April 2020
- The sun shined through my kitchen window today whilst I was cooking. I’m grateful for the wonderful sunshine.
- I had a lie-in today. I’m grateful for my cosy bed!
- I spoke to my daughter on the phone today and we laughed. I’m very grateful to have her in my life.
Now that you have a few things written down, read them back to yourself slowly
Try reading them aloud and have a little smile to yourself. Don’t rush this part, it’s important to reflect and really feel grateful.
One of the loveliest things about being grateful is the emotions and actions it can inspire
If you’ve noted something about another person consider giving them a call, or dropping them a message to pass on the thanks. It’s an amazing way to nurture and build relationships. It’s likely you’ll brighten someone’s day and might even make their own gratitude list!
Once you’ve finished the activity carry on with your day and try to be more mindful of the things that make you feel grateful
It’ll become easier the more you incorporate it into your daily life. Try to journal as often as you can, we’d recommend daily to create a nice routine – we’d also prescribe a cup of tea and a biscuit whilst you’re noting things down! (Bourbon biscuits are our favourites.)
Practising Gratitude with Others
Practising gratitude doesn’t have to be a solo task, in fact supporting others and encouraging them to express gratitude can be hugely helpful in times of need. Keep reading to find out one great idea for how you can connect and express gratitude with others.
Set-up a family or friend group chat for gratitude sharing
Start by agreeing between the people in the group on how often you’d like to share your gratitude. Share a text with the group (at any time of the day) outlining one thing you’re grateful for – emojis are allowed and even encouraged!
This way you can inspire each other and feel positive in knowing your loved ones have things to be grateful for too. Also, this works perfectly for those with long-distance relationships as it allows you to connect on a deep and personal level
We hope you found this guide helpful and that you can start reaping the amazing benefits of practising gratitude that we talked about at the start! If you’ve enjoyed this, you might find our guide on practicing mindfulness of use too, you can find it here.
Oh, and how could we forget? Thank YOU for reading (and if you are thankful for this article, make sure to include it in your gratitude list!)