As we enjoy Thanksgiving and the Holidays, I’ve been thinking a lot about the subject of gratitude. And, I’m not alone. Did you know there are more than 50,000 books on Amazon on the topic of gratitude?
It’s really no wonder.
Gratitude, the practice of showing appreciation, is woven into the fabric of every society, every culture, and every religion. It’s the stuff of thousands of studies that show how societies thrive and personal happiness is achieved when appreciation is practiced.
However, not all gratitude is made equal. Most of us remember the endless skirmishes with our parents and perhaps our own kids about writing the dreaded “Thank You” cards. This Miss Manners performance of a gratitude task, while very important, just scratches the surface for living a life of gratitude. Showing gratitude is important, of course, but practicing it is another matter. Let’s take a look at what I call “inspired gratitude.”
Inspired Gratitude for Health and Happiness
There is little doubt, given the amount of psychology studies that the power of gratitude can make a positive difference in our lives. When I say “inspired” gratitude I mean actively engaging in the practice of “counting our blessings.” Growing in gratitude is an active self-care practice that has been proven to
- Enhance well being
- Create deeper relationships
- Boost optimism
- Increase happiness
- Improve physical and mental health
The practice of gratitude is a choice. And, “gratitude gurus” say that to be truly appreciative means to give thanks for everything- all the time. However, many of us live busy lives and have endless responsibilities. We rush about to get things done, we get cut-off on the road, we get poor service at the store and ---we tell ourselves we just don’t have time.
Journaling - The 10 Minute Gratitude Fix
But, there’s a simple method to practice the art of gratitude in your day-to-day life – painlessly. It’s called a Gratitude Journal.
This journal is simply a blank notebook to record the things that you are thankful for. Pick a time in your day – when you wake, before you sleep, during your lunch hour—you get the idea -- and write down things that you are grateful for in your life. Simple--right?
Start with the phrase “I am grateful for…” and you are off and running.
Once you start writing, the ideas will flow. And remember, this journal is your personal journey into a deeper form of gratitude. But it is one that will reward you and those around you with benefits that are beyond price.
Gratitude is a Contagious Habit
When you practice gratitude, strange and wonderful things happen. You might smile more or see things around you with fresh eyes. You might even forgive the guy who cut you off, or realize a livelier kick in your step.
And, more importantly, it will be contagious.
A spirit of gratitude can’t help but be noticed by those around you – and many will respond positively. In this way, your private practice of growing in gratitude will inspire others to see and do good in the world. In this way inspired gratitude is powerful.
How to Create a Gratitude Journal
This journal is for your personal reflections. However, it might help to keep in mind a few important steps to get the most out of the experience.
Step 1: Choose a time you can be faithful to
Whether you spend a few minutes before bed or take time during your coffee break, pick a time that works for your individual schedule. To get you started, you might set an alarm or put it as a task in your calendar.
Step 2: Start with “I am grateful for…”
Your thoughts can be formed as statements, lists or developed as stories. Try to do at least ten a day.
Step 3: When writing, be positive and be specific
One way to keep ideas flowing is to be as specific as possible. For example, “I am happy that my sister loves me” is more powerful and personal than “I am happy people love me.” Another example is to expand the thought. For example, instead of “I paid my bills,” say “I am grateful that I had enough money to pay my bills.”
Step 4: Don’t let “life” get in the way
As with all “self-care” practices, it’s easy to push this to the back burner. But remember that when things come up, you are under stress, or having a bad day, this is the time when practicing gratitude is even more powerful.
Remember that a gratitude journal is only one way to get into the habit of thankfulness. As we look at the world through the eyes of appreciation we can journal, pray, meditate, or engage in other spiritual practices. But, it’s also good to note that we can make a huge difference to others with a simple but heart-felt “thank you.”
We hope you have time this holiday season to pause and see the wonderful things in your life. We are so grateful for each of you,
Bye for now!
P.S. As you can see, practicing gratitude or any self-care is important for health and happiness. Other self-care practices include exercise, education, and living a healthy lifestyle. At Ayr Skin Care we are proud to provide self-care products that make skin care easy and effective to reveal your healthy, glowing skin.
If you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to answer you personally! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.