Gratitude and Self-care, two words that I feel are losing their impact yet are so important to living well. Over the last six months in particular as COVID-19 has affected our lives, it has tested our ability and strength to find things to be grateful for.
Stress and anxiety have overwhelmed many of us and it is understandable and easy to brush off the idea of finding things to be grateful for. Yet, it is during these times, that we need to focus on what we have that is positive in our lives and shift the focus from what is negatively impacting us.
My birthday was yesterday and I spent a lovely day with my family celebrating 63 years of life. Spending time with my family is precious and I’m very grateful for these times as we create special memories together. I’m also so grateful for the special birthday wishes I received from so many friends and readers. I certainly feel very honoured and special to be surrounded by so much love!
How a daily Gratitude practice is the key to self-care
It might not be obvious but once we start focusing on a daily gratitude practice our health and well-being improves and that is the key to self-care.
- It presents a mind shift from negative to positive. We feel uplifted and our mental mindset improves.
- Mindful Awarenenss improves – We start to become more mindful and appreciate the little things in life that make our life better. The more you bring you attention to what you are grateful for the more gratitude will become part of your life.
- Our happiness increases as we acknowledge the good things no matter how small
- Our stress levels decrease
- We feel more motivated and alive because we appreciate the gift of life
- We are more aware of our surroundings as we appreciate the beauty of nature
Simple Mindful Gratitude Exercises
3 things I’m grateful for – a daily practice
It only takes a few moments each day to find 3 things you are grateful for and write them down. This could be at the start of the day as part of your morning ritual and at the close of the day.
Is there someone in your life that has done something for you for which you have been so grateful yet never told them? This is the purpose of a gratitude letter. Write a letter to that person and then arrange to meet them to read the letter and express your gratitude in person. This exercise from The Greater Good in Action showed that:
- it affirms the positives in your life and reminds you that others have cared about out.
- it improves your relationships because you are expressing your gratitude in a thoughtful, deliberate way by writing it down and delivering it and reading it to the recipient.
- Observe – focus on each time you say ‘thank you’. Is it is just from habit with no thought? How are you feeling when you say thank you? Is your mind elsewhere? Are you rushing to the next thing or are you focused on truly being grateful?
- Pick one interaction a day. When you say ‘thank you’ stop for a moment and take note. Think intentionally about what you feel grateful for, Then say thank you.