We often hear that research has shown that practicing gratitude can be beneficial to us, not only from a mental health perspective, but also, from a social and wellness perspective.
This article is one of the most comprehensive articles I have found and includes all the benefits and some of the research, so I wanted to share this with you:
Please note, that whilst this article refers to “positive emotions” – I do not advocate for that description. All emotions are valid and helpful and they take care of what is important to us.
How to Practice Gratitude:
Here are 5 easy ways to practice gratitude and kindness during these trying times:
1 First and foremost: Self-care and self-compassion is practicing gratitude. You’ll have nothing to give if you don’t take care of you!
Take time at home to practice self-care and self-love with calming and mindful activities. It’s the little things that count, right? Show your body that you’re grateful for it by eating whole foods, drinking lots of water, exercising gently, going for massages. Write yourself a letter of gratitude. Showing yourself some care, love, and gratitude during this time is vital in maintaining your overall health and wellness.
Join one of our retreats and take time out especially for you – this is self-care and a practice of gratitude. It’s time to acknowledge yourself and all that you’ve achieved. And if something hasn’t worked out, then practice being even more compassionate towards yourself.
2. Support small local businesses.
Your local shops need your business more than ever right now. Order takeout from you local restaurants, pick up some caffeine at the corner coffee shop or check social media to see how you can support your favourite studio, instructor, hair salon, wellness practitioner, and more. Perhaps leave them a positive review on their online sites and let others know what you love about them. Show the businesses you understand that they are suffering during the current economic climate and respond with kindness and patience.
3. Tell someone you love them and appreciate them – even strangers!
Tell the people you care about how much you really do appreciate them. Connect with your friends and family in person or on a virtual coffee date via Zoom. Let’s show our gratitude for the meaningful relationships in our lives. Say thank you to everyone, especially those in the service industry.
4. Practice kindness to every being. (Including animals and nature)
Perhaps run errands for someone who is confined at home or offer to walk someones dog. (Think neighbours and family members in need.) Before you’re going to send that strongly worded email to someone, please pause and think about what could be going on in their lives. Let’s approach each situation with kindness first.
5. Do something special for your significant other and family.
Cook a nourishing meal. Wash the dishes. Give them time alone. Invite them for a nature walk. Buy them flowers. Treat them to a massage.
Gratitude is to believe that everything is a gift and we did not receive it in exchange for anything. It does not mean that we turn away from or minimise the immense loss and suffering that is happening right now. Gratitude is an active daily practice that we cultivate alongside the very real and challenging emotions we are experiencing and can be healing. It is the foundation to living a more joy-filled life. This is an invitation to honour all your experiences with a practice of gratitude.
Enjoy this short clip on gratitude with beloved Brother David Steindl-Rast, who is the founder of gratefulness.org.