It’s easier said than done, but truly harnessing the power of gratitude, making it an active practice in all your days, can change your life – physically, mentally and emotionally.
You’d think that taking time to sit still for five minutes a day to reflect with gratitude on all the moments, people and experiences in your life would be a welcome break. Other than your time and focus, this activity requires absolutely nothing. Not a special chair, pair of pants or shoes. Just you and your attention.
Why, then, is making time to sit still in gratitude so difficult for many? Is it the noise continually surrounding us? Is it the anticipation of being interrupted by someone calling your name? Is it just the discomfort of sitting with your own thoughts? Specifically, during this time of year, is it your never-ending to-do list preventing a quiet mind?
Whatever your reason, ‘tis now the season to start a new habit of gratitude, acknowledging all your life’s blessings. Gratitude, as an active practice, has undoubted benefits.
Physical benefits include:
- Decreased risk for heart disease, heart attack by stroke (by up to 48% from one study!)
- Decreased diastolic blood pressure
- Improved sleep
- Better dietary decisions
- Increased immune system
- Improved outcomes for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs (seriously!)
The mental and emotional perks include:
- Decreased stress
- Lessened anxiety
- Improved satisfaction of daily life
So now that you’re convinced of the power of gratitude, you’re likely wondering how to make it a regular practice that doesn’t fall to the wayside. Here are a few tips to at least begin your journey to a regular routine.
Set a reminder. If your phone is your alarm clock, set a reminder for the same time your alarm goes off to “Practice five minutes of gratitude.”
Say thank you aloud. Not only does the actual act of saying “thank you” bring a reminder of your gratitude to the forefront of your brain, it can also more deeply connect you with someone.
Use your senses. Take a seat and then give your body a scan to acknowledge the strength and result of each of your senses – ears, eyes, nose, smell, touch.
Just sit. That’s all. Find a comfortable seat in a quiet room (or maybe even your car!) and just give yourself five minutes to be. As your mind drifts, come back to center by choosing one thing for which you’re grateful and send a prayer or positive thought to it.
Actively, consciously smiling, will trick your brain into happiness. And that is a start.
Gratitude has an inarguable and positive impact on our health. Try these few tactics and let us know if you are officially and authentically feeling #gratefulthankfulblessed.