Gratitude is described as a feeling or quality of appreciation. Gratitude can also be the action of expressing this appreciation for something or someone. This is a pretty massive topic, so for the purposes of this post, we will focus on gratitude as a PRACTICE.
When we practice gratitude, we can use it as a tool for our wellness just as we would vitamins or exercise. Just like these other practices, when done regularly, we see the results accumulate.
Think about how our thoughts --> emotions --> actions --> habits. When we put a high vibrational practice like gratitude in the begging of that flow, we get high vibrational output in our emotions and actions too.
What do these results look/feel like?
The Emmons Lab at UC Davis tells us that the benefits of practicing gratitude range from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to reducing anxiety and depression. Gratitude was linked with a 23% decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone).
Subjects that kept a gratitude journal for 2 weeks reported a 26% decrease in perceived stress and a 16% decrease in perceived depression.
Counting blessings and writing thank you letters reduced the risk of depression by 41% over six months. A1C (a marker for diabetes) was also down between 9-13%.
Gratitude also reduced risks for heart disease.
How do we practice gratitude?
One of the studies above mentions keeping a gratitude journal. So, what is that?
A gratitude journal can be as simple as writing down one thing for which you are thankful every day. You can also write letters of appreciation to yourself or others. These can be mailed or just kept for yourself.
This might be helpful to do in the morning as a prompt to look out for the positive all day, or as a stress relieving and calming nighttime ritual. Taking a moment to reflect on what we have done and what we have can slow that racing "be productive/get more stuff" anxiety.
If journaling doesn't feel accessible right now, try saying a gratitude affirmation every day out-loud or rewritten.
Hear are a few to get you started:
"I am thankful my body, and nurture it with healthy food and fresh water."
"I am grateful for the flow of abundance in all areas of my life."
"I am appreciative, that I feel worthy and deserving of all the good coming to me."
There's no right way to do this, folks, so just play around with it, and find what works for YOU :)
Hi! My name is Sarah, and I am the founder of Abundelicious. I help women let go of emotional eating and diet culture, while finding the foods, habits and movement that allow them to reach their wellness goals and thrive.
I'm into clean eating, traveling (beach please), helping folks eat and feel better, gardening (not very well), and bopping around my neighborhood with my dog.