Did you know that expressing your gratitude for something or someone has a very positive effect on your well-being? The power of this actually very simple practice is great, easy to learn and apply.
Do you regularly express your gratitude to others? Yes? Fantastic! And also, towards yourself? What you have, what is happening in your life, who is in your life?
In retreats I often do Gratitude exercises with the participants and it’s fantastic to see that there are always such positive reactions to it. Sometimes insights come right away, other times someone immediately notices a change in his or her mood, and many indicate that they continue to do this practice daily. It is always wonderful to experience that such, actually easy assignments, can have such an effect.
Why is the practice of gratitude so important?
Focusing your attention on what is going well in your life has a huge effect on your sense of happiness.
Both the major religions and modern psychology talk about this and it is also often reflected in coaching trajectories and mindfulness training.
There are many ways and exercises that have a positive effect on your mood and writing down what you are grateful for is one of them. In addition, this practice is very easy to implement in your daily life and something that ultimately maybe only takes 1 minute a day.
For people who suffer from a burnout or, for example, have a depression, this exercise is often recommended by the therapist. No matter how difficult your day was, write one thing that was nice or at least ok, no matter how small, because it really has an effect on your mood.
Know that the lasting effect of this practice is if you do it for a longer period of time, for example a few months.
In addition to feeling happier, you may find that you often experience more positive emotions, that it has an effect on relationships you have with people, and on your health in general.
How do you apply gratitude?
Of course you can regularly think of and say in your head what you are grateful for. But saying it out loud seems to have a greater effect on your brain, and therefore on yourself. And writing it down may have an even greater positive effect on you. According to several studies, this is because it really makes your brain believe that it is true. This is the same as with, for example, writing down and saying affirmations.
I have 2 writing assignments for you, plus an extra verbal assignment.
The 1st assignment will take you around 10 minutes once. The 2nd assignment may take you a few minutes each time.
Assignment 1 - one-time exercise
Take 10 minutes to write down what you are grateful for in your life. Things from your past and in the present. This can be something big or very small, and everything in between.
Try not to think too much, just write down whatever comes to mind.
Assignment 2 – daily practice
As a daily practice, review and describe what you are grateful for in your life.
Write one thing down. Every day again. Try to make this a habit and you will most likely notice the positive effect immediately, but certainly in a few weeks.
Variation: Every day write down 3 things you are grateful for.
Tip: Use a separate booklet to register. This motivates you to write something down every day, and not just do it in your mind. And all your points of gratitude are nicely together and how nice is it to read all those one day again?!
Assignment 3 – verbale exercise
The first two assignments are for you. No one needs to read this.
The 3rd assignment is to express your gratitude to someone who means or has meant a lot to you.
Try to be specific, and speak from yourself. (“I am grateful for…”, “I really appreciate…”, etc)
You could even make it a habit to do this assignment at least once a month.
My own experience with the practice of gratitude
For a few years now I have been adding specific exercises during retreats, training sessions or workshops, but to be honest I didn’t really write my own gratitude down on a daily basis. Until the corona pandemic started.
I was living abroad and was pretty much all alone for months. And yes, that made me feel quite out of balance. I then started writing affirmations daily and saying them aloud, and writing down 3 points every day that I was grateful for.
Why 3 points? What I noticed was that it was fairly easy to write down the first point, the second one too, but sometimes I really had to think a little longer about the third point. For me, writing down 3 points worked very well to go deeper into what I do have in life. This could be from basic necessities like a house and food, to a nice phone call that day, or being healthy to a nice glass of wine that evening.
After a few months I noticed that writing down affirmations and things I was grateful for on a daily basis was no longer necessary. It is fine to do this kind of practice in periods of time. And yes, even when you are all feeling fine.
And although I am now in a period where I do not write down points of gratitude daily, I try regularly, if not daily, to be really aware of what is going well in my life. This was caused by writing it down for months at a time.
I hope these exercises may bring you much happiness and joy!
Hi, my name is Jolinda, and I work as a holistic health practitioner. I provide mindfulness training, happiness coaching, yoga and meditation classes and massage and Reiki treatments.
With my blogs I hope to inspire you to make positive changes into your life. For more ideas and tips check out my page Jolindas inspiration. Free trainings and videos you can find at free downloads and videos