Developing a Gratitude practice can unlock doors to dealing with stress and anxiety. Simply stated, Gratitude helps you rewire your brain to see the good in the world. If done daily and at the start of the day, focusing on Gratitude will help ease your anxiety. It really makes you see that you have enough. By spending a few minutes a day focusing on gratitude you can literally rewire your brain and catapult yourself into a new way of life. It can be very simple with huge rewards!
Here is an overview of the process that I use each day and more importantly, why.
The first time I was ever asked to name 5 things I was grateful for I froze. It was October of 2016 and I was working with a consultant hired by our district to help administrators improve their practice. Unfortunately, I was too focused on all of the issues, problems, and shortcomings as opposed to all of the things that were going well. I couldn’t see the forest or the trees…
Gratitude helps you …
Develop a new perspective on the world
Get through tough times
In order to develop a daily gratitude practice, you need to find some way to capture 3-5 things you are grateful for. There are many journals out there that have prompts and areas for you to write or draw. You can use a notebook or even post it. I like using the Notes App on my phone. No matter what you choose, just make sure it is something you will be able to use on an ongoing basis and it is convenient.
How to develop a Daily Gratitude Practice
Carve out 5 minutes in the morning where can find a comfortable spot to reflect on the previous day.
Go back through the day and think of situations, people, places, or things that you were grateful for. Specifically, it could have been a phone call to a loved one, the fact that the sun was shining, that you got paid, that you had a relaxing shower, etc.
Write down 5 things that you are grateful for in your journal, notebook, or phone.
Be sure to date the entry and maybe write a sentence or two about the day in general.
Take 3 cleansing breaths to get centered
Read each of the entries and start with “I am grateful for …” and breathe as you read each one.
After you are finished, read them again and after each one say “Thank you, thank you, thank you”
Take a moment and think of one thing you are grateful for and say “thank you.” Decide that you are going to dedicate 5 minutes a day to developing a gratitude practice.
I have been practicing a daily Gratitude Journal and Meditation since 2016. During this time, I have had many, many challenges along with difficult days. No matter how hard a day was or how difficult a time was, I could always find something to be grateful for. There were times it may have been that the sun was shining or that I was able to get out of bed. There were some days that I was grateful that I was able to get through the day. Reflecting back on these days, I am able to see that I was still able to muster up 5 things. This journey has been incredibly empowering and I am able to share it with others.
Give it a try and let me know how you are able to incorporate it into your daily rituals and habits. I guarantee that in a few days it will begin to make you feel less anxious.