The Secret to Greater Happiness: Prioritizing a Daily Gratitude Practice
Did you know that cultivating gratitude for the things, people, and experiences in your life is a powerful way to improve your health and happiness?
In this article, we unpack the scientifically validated benefits of a gratitude practice and explore how you can start your own.
Let's dive in!
Does Practicing Gratitude Make You Happier?
Yes, regularly practicing gratitude results in greater happiness, resilience, and optimism about life. Gratitude stops negative thoughts in their tracks! Plus, this habit may also reduce depression and improve self-compassion by minimizing self-criticism and punishment. (1). Learning to practice gratitude trains your brain to be thankful for things you'd normally take for granted – think clean water, a soft pillow, or a call from a friend.
That's impressive for something completely free, right?!
The tricky part is, when you're going through a hard time, it can feel impossible to be grateful for anything. The human brain is wired to notice and focus on the bad – known as a negativity bias. Luckily, gratitude can become your 'default' setting with time, and that's where the magic lies!
Other Benefits of Gratitude
Here are some other benefits that you may experience from a gratitude practice:
- Better physical health
- Less pain
- Lower inflammatory biomarkers
- Greater levels of empathy
- Better sleep
- Higher self-esteem
- Less aggression
- Greater stress resilience and heart rate variability
We're guessing you're ready to add this powerful practice to your daily life!
How to Implement a Gratitude Practice That Sticks
It doesn't involve a huge chunk of time, but an attitude of gratitude requires practice!
1.Start a List
Keeping a gratitude journal is probably one of the most tried and tested ways to make gratitude a habit! It improves feelings of happiness and life satisfaction (2).
Set aside a few minutes in the evening to close your eyes and reflect on what you're thankful for in your life. Focus on positive feelings and jot down a list of 3-5 things that come to mind in your journal or the notes app on your phone.
2.Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a fantastic way to cultivate more appreciation for life. Plus, it uplifts your mood and lowers stress levels!
Mindfulness is all about coming into the present moment and creating an awareness of things you're grateful for – the sound of birds, warm sun on your skin, your health, the cup of coffee on your desk. It can be done while sitting at your desk, driving, taking a walk, or even doing chores.
3.Write a Letter
Did you know that writing a letter of gratitude can improve mental health?
A 2016 study in NeuroImage found writing a letter expressing gratitude can rewire the brain, sensitizing neural pathways to feelings of gratitude for up to three months (3).
We suggest grabbing a pen and paper or opening a word document on your laptop and writing a gratitude letter to someone at least once per month. The beauty of this exercise is that you don't need to send a letter to feel the amazing benefits. You could even write to yourself!
4.Incorporate Essential Oils
Using essential oils takes your gratitude practice to the next level! The powerful aromas of the volatile plant compounds stimulate the limbic system in the brain, an area linked to emotional regulation. They help to create a deeper experience and form associations in your brain that evoke positive feelings.
We've created Woolzies Gratitude Oil Blend, an uplifting combination of orange, bergamot, clove, and ginger essential oils. We suggest diffusing this citrusy blend when writing your gratitude list.
With the help of the tips in this article, gratitude will become a habit, allowing you to see things in a positive light.
Let us know; what's your favorite way to incorporate gratitude into your day?
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