A Self-Care Ritual That Lives Up to the Hype? This Year, You Should Try Gratitude
Gratitude. It’s become a seemingly magical thing that often takes the limelight in positive psychology and self-help manifestos, and surprisingly, this limelight is actually well deserved.
If you’ve been following our blog for any period of time, you know this topic isn’t new for us either, having made an appearance on at least four previous occasions. All things considered, you might have already gotten sick of it before really investigating the damn thing.
Don’t dismiss it just yet if that’s the case.
If you haven’t created a practice of gratitude, the truth is that you’re missing out.
Let’s go over some of the important highlights:
1- It makes you happier! Studies support this (Harvard has a famous one). How? It’s actually quite simple. Drawing your mind’s attention to a specific focus repeatedly creates new brain pathways. These pathways become natural positive routes your thinking patterns take.
2- This focus also calms the monkey mind. Have you heard of it? Wandering and swinging from branch to branch? Your mind hops from one thought to another, musing on the past, the future, and everything in between. Being in the present moment increases happiness, and actually helps reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms.
3- A direct link has been made between a gratitude practice and increased production of dopamine and serotonin. More happy hormones= more happiness.
4- The gratitude practice acts as a healthy and protective touchstone that you can reach for in difficult moments. When you reach for it, you activate points 1 through 3, disrupting the cycle of thoughts and feelings washing over you, even if just for a few moments.
Still need some extra incentive? Watch this powerful Ted Talk by monk and interfaith scholar David Steindl-Rast:
So if you haven’t yet decided on something to incorporate into your year to keep supporting your best self, we’d suggest starting with a gratitude journal.
Buy a journal so inspiring to you it makes your skin tickle. Find a pen to match- one that glides evenly on the page and makes your fingers itch to hold it. And then every evening before bed, just spend a moment writing down a small number (or even just one) thing you are grateful for from that day. Make it your ritual. It will feel like a gift to yourself.
See how you feel after a month! And let us know how it goes for you in the comments. We love hearing from you 🙂