Gratitude is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a way to reduce stress and anxiety. There are plenty of scientific studies that show how gratitude and being thankful for the good things in your life can help to lower your stress and anxiety levels. Since we know that mental and emotional stress can lead to unnecessary worry and even physical health problems, anything that can help get rid of the stress and add a little more positive energy to our lives has to be a good thing.
It’s easy to start a gratitude practice. I’ve talked in previous posts about starting a gratitude journal, but that’s only one way to practice gratitude. Here are seven gratitude habits you can do every day.
Habit #1 –
Write a Thank You Note
Have you noticed how we don’t really say thank you enough to the people who are closest to us. You can probably think of someone like that in your life right now.
Take time to send them a handwritten letter of thanks. Don't email them or text them. The time that you take to express your feelings by writing them down means more lasting rewards than using electronic media.
Habit #2 –
Create a Gratitude Calendar
This is a variation of the common gratitude journal. On your "gratitude calendar", write down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for each day. After writing them read them out loud. Keep this calendar where you can see it constantly.
An inexpensive way to do this would be to pick up a desk blotter calendar at your local office supply store. I use the generic ones from Staples, and I think they run about 10 bucks or less. Put it on your desk if you have room for a blotter, or hang it on the wall. Then do the exercise of writing on your calendar, and reading it out loud afterward.
Habit #3 –
Use Gratitude Affirmations
Each day, say "I'm grateful for you" to important objects, events and people in your life. This is a great way to show appreciate for all the little things in your life.
Habit #4 –
Practice "One Person a Day" Gratefulness
This is a cool habit to get into, and it just might push the boundaries of your comfort zone a little too.
Here’s what you do: Take a different friend, family member, acquaintance, coworker or service provider each day of the year. Tell them that you are grateful for their presence in your life.
This works a couple of ways. It lets people know that you care about them and appreciate them, and it also forces you to expand your circle of influence.
Habit #5 –
Say "Thank You" to Your Lunch
We take so much for granted. Many people in the world do not know if they are going to eat every day, while most of us have several choices as far as what food we are going to put into our mouth, how much we eat, and when we eat.
Whether you have an abundance of food or eat sparingly, express gratitude for the food you put into your body.
Habit #6 –
Show Appreciation By Giving Things Away
You may complain about the fact that you don't have as many clothes or possessions as you would like. But you probably don’t use half of what you do have. In this gratitude habit, you will find someone who has less than you. Give them something of yours. This can quickly make you realize how much you really have.
The flip side to this is that you will also realize how little some other people have. If you’re uncomfortable singling out one person, you can also donate to organizations such as the Salvation Army, or local women’s shelters.
Habit #7 –
Learn to Appreciate Yourself
Go to the nearest mirror. Do you see that person staring back at you? That is the person you should be most appreciative of.
You obviously love your friends and family, but you need to express self-love first before you can form the deepest relationships with others. Frequently look yourself in the eyes and express gratitude for who you are and what you have given yourself.
What do you think? Will you add any of these gratitude habits to your daily routines? Share your thoughts in the comments below.