Gratitude: A Mindful Self-Care Practice
What Is Gratitude?
I talk about Gratitude all the time, but often I find that there are many misconceptions about what it actually is. Most people think it’s just being thankful for the good things in life, and although that is part of it, there is much more to it than that. I like to think of it like this. Gratitude is the mindful conscious decision to focus on the good things in life in spite of the bads and to find some joy in each and every situation of our lives. Gratitude as a self-care practice is a powerful tool. It the most powerful way I have found that we can shift our mindset from the negativity that wants to pull us down.
I feel like I could talk about the power of gratitude all day, and I’m sure this will be a recurring topic of many future blog posts. Today, I’m going to focus a bit on some highlights from one of my favorite books about gratitude. I’ll be discussing the power of gratitude and how to use it in your daily life as part of your self-care routine.
The Power of Gratitude
The Little Book of Gratitude is a great book to reference about the practice of and the power of gratitude. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book if you’d like to learn more, but I wanted to share a few of the powerful statistics from the book about the benefits of using gratitude in your life.
Keeping a gratitude diary for 2 weeks has been shown to reduce levels of stress and depression by as much as 30%.
The use of gratitude can help lower the stress hormone cortisol by up to 25%.
Writing a gratitude letter has been shown to reduce feelings of hopelessness by 88%, and it has been shown to increase levels of optimism by 94%
Gratitude has been shown to create a 10% improvement in sleep quality of those struggling with insomnia
These statistics about the power of using gratitude as a self-care tool really amazed me the first time I saw them, and they helped me to see how important it was to be utilizing gratitude everyday!
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The ARC Model of Gratitude
Another awesome explanation about gratitude from The Little Book of Gratitude is how the ARC Model of Gratitude works. Gratitude amplifies, rescues, and connects.
Gratitude amplifies: The good we see in ourselves and in others is multiplied and magnified by using gratitude as a tool. Gratitude helps us see and solidify the goodness in our lives by turning our attention and focus on those things. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of life, focusing on gratitude amplifies the good we see in ourselves and in others.
Gratitude rescues: Our brains are almost hardwired to see the negatives and the bad things in our lives and all around us. The world we live in is also really good at giving us reasons to believe the negative messages, almost like we are hijacked from being able to see anything good. Gratitude is an ally to help counterbalance these internal and external threats to happiness. Rather than being robbed of our joy, gratitude can help us get back on track in order to find contentment and inner peace.
Gratitude connects: We are not alone on this journey of life, but we can often feel isolated and at odds with others. Gratitude is a way of strengthening and solidifying the relationships in our lives, and it helps us build bridges of connection with others.
Gratitude In Your Daily Life
Many people struggle to know where to begin when implementing the practice of gratitude in their lives. Keeping a daily gratitude journal can be a great way to start incorporating the practice of gratitude into your life, and many studies have shown that consistently keeping a gratitude journal for 21 days will actually rewire the happiness centers in your brain.
I recommend writing in your gratitude journal either first thing in the morning as a part of your morning routine or as the very last thing you do before you go to bed at night as a part of your night routine. When you sit down to write in your gratitude journal, take a deep breath, don’t overthink it, and write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. The goals is to try to write down new and different things each day and just notice how it feels to intentionally focus on the goods in your life.
If trying to come up with 3-5 things seems challenging at first, you can try to add a bit more structure to the process. You can write down one thing you’re grateful for about yourself, one thing you’re grateful for about your family or a relationship that’s important to you, and one thing you’re grateful for about your work or professional life.
The practice of gratitude can be incorporated into your existing self-care routine or it can be a way to start a daily self-care routine. However you decide to use gratitude, it’s important to remember that consistency is the key. As I always say, start where you are and do what you can. I hope you will give the practice of gratitude a try, and I would love to know about your experience with it. I’ll have many future posts all about gratitude and some other gratitude practices that you can incorporate into your days to help manage your mindset as a way to continue to help you live your best life.
Work with Me
If you are interested in setting up an appointment for therapy, life coaching, or consulting or if you would like more information about ways to use gratitude or implement self-care into you own life, you can call my office directly at 314-485-9189 or feel free to send me a message. My direct email address is email@example.com and you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more life and relationship tips!
Therapy Thoughts Workshops
If you are local to the St. Louis area and interested in attending my monthly Therapy Thoughts Workshops, the next one will be in two week on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 from 7:30pm-8:30pm. It will at the The Bike Stop Cafe in Chesterfield. We will be determining the topic soon, and I’ll be updating you in next week’s blog and on my social media platforms. As always, the cost is $5 to get in, and this gets you $2 off any drink of your choice as well as entry into the attendance raffle drawings. I hope to see you there!
Therapy Thoughts Podcast
My Therapy Thoughts podcast is almost ready to re-launch in 2 weeks, and I am so excited!!! It will be available in both audio and visual formats. I am looking forward to having this up and running again, and I’ll have more information as we get closer to the re-launch. Remember to make sure you are following my social media platforms and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you will be able to watch all the episodes!