5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude
What is Gratitude? Why should we practice it?
Gratitude is multifaced and can be seen as a noun, a practice or a way of life. Get ready to go on this short journey with me on how gratitude can benefit you, drawing reference from scientific research and also personal experience. It is said that people who practice gratitude and take the time to consciously notice the things that they are thankful for experience huge benefits. The key ones being better sleep, more compassion and kindness, reduced symptoms of physical pain, lower blood pressure levels and even benefits on a neurological level.
Neuroscientist Glenn Fox who is an expert in the science of gratitude has found links between the practice and physical brain structures. Studies have found a correlation between the feeling of gratitude a chemical hormone called oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’ named consequently because it is the hormone realised when reserving physical affection. In essence, practising gratitude on a neurological level is like constantly stimulating your brain with hugs and orgasms.
Gratitude does not need to be saved for special occasions such as a promotion or a holiday, you can reap the rewards daily. Research by the psychologist Robert Emmons and author of the book ‘Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier’, shows that just keeping a simple gratitude journal and continuously writing brief reflections shows an increase in mental health, well-being and general satisfaction in life.
You would think that these statistics in themselves would be enough to have the whole population practising gratitude but sadly we can easily fall victim to a lack of motivation. If you are anything like me my motivation for gratitude practice last about 4 days and then I find myself back to square one contemplating all the work I had done. Surely I'm not the only one that feels like this?
In my journey, I've learnt what gratitude practices work for me. I've sourced some easy hacks which are sustainable and simple to maintain.
5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude
DON’T BE TOO EXISTENTIAL…
It’s easy to be grateful for the big things for example, ‘I am grateful for my existence’-I am by no means negating the importance of this phrase, however, I find that when trying to identify with such a huge statement that it can feel a little overwhelming.
Instead, try honing in on the smaller things; ‘I am grateful for the birds singing in my garden this morning’ or ‘I am grateful that today my mum made me lunch', although these may feel obvious they are things you genuinely feel grateful for in that moment. Opening your eyes to the little things in life can deeply enrich your gratitude practise.
BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN DESTINY…
Own your power, only you can make the conscious decision every day to feel grateful, you can actively program your mind to be the best version for yourself every day and with this in mind, you can choose to be grateful for anything and everything. Gratitude is limitless.
MAKE IT FUN...
At the University of Rochester, Edward Deci and Richard Ryan studied the concept of Intrinsic Motivation, which refers to human will power and the ability to finish tasks. We are governed by determination and autonomy; don’t limit your practice and find what works for you.
I like to use a gratitude journal to write down 3 things I'm grateful for today, 3 AMAZING things that happened today and 3 things that I am. I try to do this at least 3x a week or whenever I'm feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
I'll share a little secret with you that most people don't know. My ultimate gratitude ritual which I find the most fun and effective is my incense gratitude ritual. I do this with either of my incenses and it's probably the easiest thing I do all day!
I take my incense and sprinkle it on top of the charcoal placed inside the burner. As I am doing this, I recite 3 things I am grateful for and light the incense as a thank you to mother earth for giving me those things. I notice that by doing this, it's easier for me to make this into a physical reality of thanking someone or something rather than just saying it randomly. The effects after are just incredible. I instantly feel more focused, calm and in charge of my day.
Check out my tutorial on how I practice gratitude below.
We're using our Cleanse & Protect Kit in this
If you can wake up every morning and write a gratitude list, then do it. If you need a bit of encouragement then practice gratitude with a friend.
Tip: Find someone who you trust and commit to 30 days of sending each other a text every day with 5 things you’re grateful for. This can be motivating for people who are new to gratitude practice or even on days when you forget or can’t be bothered. It's a great way incentivise each other.
BE GRATEFUL FOR PEOPLE...
Try and find gratitude for the people around you, like your friends and family rather than material assets. Our relationships with our nearest and dearest are what brings us the most happiness. When thinking about how to phrase gratitude for people an example might be ‘I am grateful for my cat’ or ‘I am grateful today that I get to see my friend for a walk.’ This is especially important during this time in lockdown as we can't see all our loved ones. Appreciate what you have and be grateful for it!
DON’T BE HARD ON YOURSELF…
If one day you slip up or you fall out of the pattern for a couple of weeks, that’s fine! Have compassion for yourself, as I said earlier you are the master of your own destiny so harness that. You can be whatever you want and by practising gratitude you will begin to reap all of its rewards!
Share your favourite gratitude practices with us on instagram! Tag us @houseofroxylondon and we'll repost you :)
By Azzi Agnelli