scrapbook page with dried flowers, photo of woman journaling and the title Practicing Gratitudes for a Happier Life

Practicing Gratitudes for a Happier Life

With Thanksgiving being this weekend here in the states, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about gratitudes. While I will admit that there are days when it is REALLY hard to do, practicing gratitudes has been proven to help increase your happiness.

There are a lot of benefits to gratitudes.

Being actively and consciously grateful has been shown to help you have a more positive mindset which can then in turn help you to make decisions that lead to a happier life. Self-esteem and confidence tend to be higher as well as motivation for things like self-love and self-care. When you practice gratitudes and positivity, things like negative emotions, fear and anger are usually reduced. It becomes easier to focus on what you want in life and to push yourself towards them.

Gratitudes don’t always come naturally.

For some of us (hi, I’m some of us) it actually feels very unnatural. I’m not quite sure if it’s just the way my brain has always been wired or it has to do with the different things that have occurred in my life, but my instinct is not to be grateful. It’s usually a much darker place- whether fear, mistrust or just assuming the worst. This is how it’s been for as long as I can remember. My mind would focus on the worst things that happened and go over them again and again.

I made an active decision to start practicing gratitudes.

It takes effort and is a decision that I have to make every single day, but I believe it’s worth it. Sometimes it takes me a while and I really have to sit with my thoughts, but once I get my gratitudes together, I’m able to remember them throughout my day. If something doesn’t go my way, I’m able to grab that thing that I know I’m grateful for in order to keep me anchored and prevent me from heading down a dark path. This is especially helpful on those days where everything seems to trigger my PTSD.

Gratitudes don’t replace all of the negative.

While I do believe that when you practice gratitudes, you have less negative emotions, it doesn’t stop them from happening all together. And it shouldn’t. When things happen in your life that cause negative feelings, I believe it’s important to let yourself feel them. Negative feelings have their place- helping you to realize what you need to change in order to have the life that you want. Gratitudes help prevent those negative feelings from being the only thing you feel. Without having that positive thing to focus on as well, the negative could cause a spiral to form, making it hard to do or think about anything else. Those gratitudes help to create a balance which allows you to continue moving forward and increasing your happiness levels.

Journaling is a great way to practice gratitudes.

My go to for gratitudes is journaling. I have a journal that is specifically for writing down one to three things that I am grateful for each day. I’ve found that it’s better to do this earlier in the day, because whatever things I write down will stick with me throughout the day. If something particularly negative or triggering happens, it’s easier for me to bring that positive thing back into focus which helps me not to spiral. (Need a journal? I’ve got you! Head on over to my shop and I can make one just for you!)

Meditation is great for mindset.

Meditating puts you in the right set of mind to be able to bring your gratitudes into focus. You can think about the people, things, moments, etc. and be able to fully appreciate them. You can also pull some of the negative thoughts into your mind and be able to see how far you’ve come from worse times or how you are able to have happiness despite the hardships.

Give some special attention to the best part of your day.

This is one that works more at the end of the day and that my husband and I have been doing for the last few years. I actually like it so much that I’m starting to do it with my daughter as well. At the end of each day, think over all of the positive things or moments that occurred and pick out your favorite one. Verbalize or even just think about that moment and why it was your favorite. Let yourself sink into it. Check out my previous post here for more on this process and why I believe in it.

Talk to your people.

Expressing your gratitudes with others helps to really keep them in focus. By voicing them and discussing them, you are able to see them from different angles and get even further into why you are grateful for them. This can also strengthen your relationships and they might be able to offer fresh perspectives or additional details to be grateful for.

Make it visual.

The more you see something, the more you will think about it. It just makes sense. So if you’re having trouble with your gratitudes, maybe write up one master list of your gratitudes and put it somewhere you’re going to see often. Or maybe go the three things daily route but write them on your bathroom mirror with an expo marker. Or any surface really, so long as you see them often.

Got another idea for practicing gratitudes? Let me know!

Also, I’m so grateful for you, my lovely reader.

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