Practicing Gratitude

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MIND FIT: Practicing Gratitude

It’s the same in life as it is in the gym - you have to train to see changes.

Each November, my social media newsfeeds are covered with posts of gratitude leading up to Thanksgiving. I love seeing these posts. Some may cringe because they think they should happen all year long, but I love the intentionality in practicing gratitude.

When you think back over this last year, no matter what you have been through, what struggles you have experienced, or what has made you question your resilience, there is always something to be grateful for. This does not mean we ignore the hurts and pains, but it does mean that we should hack through them to find the good things that have happened to us.

We can often harness our emotions by changing our mindset. When couples come into my office for counseling, one of the first things I challenge them with is finding things they appreciate or are thankful for about one another. You see, they could do a million nice things for each other, but if they aren’t intentionally looking for things they are grateful for in the relationship, those nice gestures will not be seen and may be wasted energy. A little gratitude can go a long way, and as Ann Voskamp says in her book “One Thousand Gifts,” it must be practiced:

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Not only can gratitude help our mood and marriages, it can also affect our overall health in positive ways. Gratitude can help you feel refreshed, better conquer adversity, have more fulfilling relationships, and even sleep better! You’ll find practicing gratitude can generally improve your sense of emotional well-being.

For this month, I challenge you to practice gratitude.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

1) Keep a gratitude journal (using an app or an old-fashioned notebook) or jar. You can write down things you are thankful for as they come to mind or just try and jot down one thing a day.

2) Make it a habit to write a thank you note or tell someone what you are thankful for. This can be to a friend, child, parent, spouse, or coach.

3) Practice finding something you have done that you are thankful for about yourself each day.

4) Post words, verses, or photos around your house that direct you back towards thankfulness.

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Sarah Andrews is a Get Fit member and a Marriage and Family Therapist who practices in Modesto.

Learn more about Sarah and her work.