If meditation is like turning the dial on a radio to tune into a better mood, then practising gratitude is like flicking a switch to change night to day, dark to light in an instant. It’s that powerful a mood changer.
Recent research shows that people who practise gratitude say they experience fewer aches and pains, have improved relationships and deeper, uninterrupted sleep. In addition they suffer less from anxiety and low mood while finding pleasure in the small day-to-day things. Overall, people who feel gratitude are more satisfied and contented with life, regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in.
How you practise gratitude is, of course, a personal thing.
Some people like to keep a gratitude journal, writing down three things they are grateful for every day; others like to have a gratitude jar which they fill with notes of gratitude on a daily basis. Or you could incorporate gratitude into your meditation routine.
An acupuncturist friend of mine keeps a photo album on her phone filled with photos of people, places and things she loves. She takes time out of her day to scroll through that and remind herself of all she is grateful for.
I personally think of one or two things I am grateful for every day and hold them in my thoughts for a few minutes.
But don’t just go through the motions. Rather than just list the things you’re grateful for, the trick is to fully immerse yourself in the emotion. Tap in to all your senses – what you see, hear, smell, taste and above all feel, for a more powerful experience.
We all get busy, too busy sometimes. But if you try just one of the above three practises, know you’re doing something profoundly positive and wonderful for your everyday physical, emotional and mental health. And that your day will be better because of it.
Stay well and take good care of yourself,