Balanced Mind,  Self Care

How to Lower Stress by Practicing Gratitude

My grandma always told me that I should count my blessings instead of my burdens. And now science is beginning to understand what she meant. Studies suggest that making a habit of noticing what’s going well in your life could have health benefits. Positive Psychology studies are even finding that the act of practicing gratitude can lower stress and improve your emotional well-being. So, giving thanks is another form of self-care. 

Ways to Practice Gratitude:

  1. Find one thing positive-One thing that has often helped me to get through a disappointing event in my life was to name what positive outcome I experienced as a result of it. If I had a bad experience with a person, what did that relationship with that person teach me? I ask myself, what lesson did I learn from it? Or what positive thing could I find to take away from the situation? If there is only one thing, that is ok.
  2. Prayer– increases mindfulness and prevents excessive worry. Prayer also implies the context of a relationship with a higher being. Praying within a relationship with God that feels loving and supportive may help with managing stress and life’s challenges. 
  3. Meditation– focuses on clearing the mind. 
  4. Take a moment- to think about the positive things that happened during the day and write them down. Keep them in a journal so you can re-read them when you need to. 
  5. Savor your experiences– Try to notice positive moments as they are happening.
  6. Relive the good times– Relive positive moments later by thinking about them or sharing them with others.
  7. Write to someone– Write a letter to someone you feel thankful for. You don’t have to send it.
  8. Make a visit-Tell someone you’re grateful for them in person.
  9. Practice- small acts of kindness.
Practice Gratitude

The first step in any gratitude practice is to reflect on the good things that have happened in your life. These can be big or little things. It can be as simple as enjoying a cup of hot tea. Next, allow yourself a moment to enjoy that you had the positive experience, no matter what negatives may exist in your life. You can try first thing in the morning or right before you fall asleep, whatever works best for you. 

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