Many of us have New Year’s resolutions with big ideas. Having hopes and goals is wonderful! Sometimes those resolutions are hard to maintain throughout the year because they can be a big leap. Go for those big ones, but it can also be a good idea to include a surefire manageable one such as practicing gratitude daily.
One of the simplest ways to improve mood, reduce anxiety and improve your overall well being is to engage in gratitude practice.
As humans, we are programmed to think negatively. Negative is our “autopilot” mode. This causes us to have very strong ‘negativity muscles’ in our brains. As we make this muscle stronger, it will get used more, simply by default. If we want to ever default to a positivity muscle (which would feel WAY better), we need to intentionally exercise that positivity muscle.
The benefits of building that positivity muscle include improved relationships and self-esteem, improved decision making, strengthened immune system, improved sleep patterns and finding more joy and pleasure in everyday activities.
How can you practice gratitude?
Everyday, say three things you are grateful for. You can do this when you wake up in the morning, before you fall asleep at night, or just in moments of stress or anxiety.
Keep a gratitude journal. Writing in it even for 5 minutes a day can be beneficial.
Try a guided gratitude meditation.
Share your gratitude with others. Instead of simply saying, “thank you” when someone helps you, be specific and tell them exactly what you are thankful for and why. You both will benefit!
Use the 3:1 ratio. For every one negative thought you have (about yourself, others or life in general), stop and intentionally think of three positive things. This will help redirect your thought patterns and do wonders for that positivity muscle!