Editor’s note: Dana Santas, known as “Mobility Maker“He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and mind-body coach in professional sports, and is the author of the book ‘Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief.’
It’s easy to feel a sense of gratitude when things go your way or when holidays like Thanksgiving dictate. But just as showing love should not be reserved only for good times and special occasions such as birthdays, being grateful should not happen only in optimal conditions or on designated days.
With a little effort, you can find reasons to be grateful every day – and practicing gratitude regularly offers a lot Hi and welfare benefits that can it increases your happiness the whole year.
Stress is arguably one of the biggest obstacles to long-term happiness. Fortunately (pun intended), one of the biggest benefits of being grateful is its power to mitigate stress. Numerous studies during the pandemic showed that – even in the face of significant psychological stressors – practicing gratitude had the ability to reduce stress and improve mood.
Gratitude practices can too decrease depression and increase self-esteem. This mood and confidence booster is especially useful for young adults who have experienced it stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms correlates with social media use.
A study of more than 1,000 high school students found that a daily gratitude practice fostered greater life satisfaction and motivation, while another study showed a link between gratitude and decreased suicide risk in college students.
Science has shown us that gratitude is an important and powerful skill for anyone at any age—and like any skill worth mastering, it takes practice.
Do you want to be less stressed and happier? Try one or more of the following four easy-to-follow daily gratitude practices listed below.
Create a gratitude album in your phone’s photo app and make a point once a day to add at least one image of something that makes you feel grateful. You don’t need to have any special photography skills, and your images don’t even have to be pictures of real things. You can include screenshots of meaningful text message exchanges, events on your calendar and the like. You can be creative, but keep it simple so you don’t feel pressured. Building your album should be a joyful practice.
Once you’ve started filling your album with images, make a point to replace some of your time scrolling through social media with time spent scrolling through the images in your gratitude album. Instead of comparing your life to others online, spend a few minutes each day appreciating all the good in your life. You don’t need research to tell you how much better it would be for your mental health!
In a culture of instant gratification, it can be difficult to slow down, be patient and find presence. Your breath is always happening in the present moment, so when you stop and focus on your breath you can find presence. I recommend taking breath breaks for just 90 seconds of deep breathing a few times a day.
Being in a state of gratitude can curb impatience, according to him research. It’s easy to be grateful for your ability to breathe—considering that your breath is literally a life-sustaining force. During your breathing pauses, as you breathe deeply, focus on how grateful you are for the ability to take each breath. Combining a focus on the breath with a state of gratitude cultivates patience and creates a sense of being calm and present.
Every day, tell someone – anyone – you are grateful for them, their help, their presence or anything good that comes to mind. You can write a letter, text, call or do it in person for an even bigger impact. Sharing gratitude with another person increases happiness for both of you.
The benefits are even greater in romantic relationships, where research found that partners are more responsive to the needs of others and express greater satisfaction in the relationship after being in the end of receiving gratitude from their significant other.
In addition, expressing gratitude to each other continues to have a long-term positive effect on relationships six to nine months later, the results show.
At the end of each day, reflect on three things that make you feel grateful. Write them down. You can use a journal, a note app on your phone, or put it in a prominent place where you will see it the next morning. I have a whiteboard hanging in our master bathroom where my husband and I write three things every night as we get ready for bed. We have the benefit of being able to share our gratitude list with others and go to bed feeling grateful. Even better, the research found a possible link between gratitude and improved sleep.
Your list of the night should not include monumental achievements or expensive things. In fact, you should avoid focusing too much on acquiring things like materialism is linked to less happiness. Your list could include your health, time spent with friends or family, a good dinner, taking a nice walk, and more. When it comes to gratitude, the little things really are the big things.