How often do you reflect on all the good in your life? Do you know how powerful gratitude can be? Because practicing gratitude activates the brain chemicals that make us feel happy, it can help relieve the psychological and physiological effects of stress. It helps us focus our minds on the good in life.
A 2021 study shows that gratitude played a vital role in the spiritual well-being of individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Shifting your attention from the negative to the positive gets easier with time and can have lasting effects on your overall health.
Need a little practical help on how to focus on gratitude? Check out this practice you can start today:
1. Write down 10 things you’re thankful for. Try to create a diverse list that includes both tangible and intangible things. For example: your home, food, car, and job would all be tangible, material things, and your health, relationships, abilities, opportunities, experiences, and emotions, would all be intangible things.
2. Focusing on what we’re grateful for instead of focusing on the negative is truly one of the biggest mental shifts we can make to improve our day to day lives. Even when our lives seem horrible, there are always things we can find to be thankful for. When we focus on the good and find the silver lining, we access so much more joy and meaning in our lives.
3. If you’re able, this is an amazing practice to do every day. Try adding it to your morning routine while you're drinking coffee or eating breakfast so you can start your day in the right headspace. It’s also a great way to wind down before bed and calm your mind for a good night's rest.
4. Remember, what you focus on at any given moment is your choice. Choose to focus on what’s working, what’s good, and what’s uplifting, and notice the difference it makes. When you really choose gratitude, it’s hard to be upset about other things. You’ll feel a shift in your spirit. Let that thankful attitude take over!