Upgrade your life by practicing gratitude
By: Raquel Van Ry
Did your parents drill “say please and thank you” into your head when you were a kid? Mine certainly did and as a result, my siblings and I were the best kids on the street every Halloween. Little did I know that by expressing gratitude, I gained way more than an extra piece of candy as a reward. When we convey gratitude, our brains release dopamine and serotonin, the two neurotransmitters that make us feel happy and content. According to one study, gratitude hugely impacts your body and mind by improving your health and increasing positive emotions. If you’re looking to capitalize on the benefits of gratitude, here’s three ways you can practice gratitude in your daily life:
It can be a post-it note or even a scribbler, regardless, the goal is the same. Try writing down the things your grateful for every night – your family, your sweatpants or even the new plant-baby you bought last week that makes you happy. If you struggle with this exercise, consider getting yourself a Five-Minute Journal. The Five-Minute Journal consists of guided prompts and inspirational quotes to help make the process a lot more enjoyable. As a result of physically writing down all that you have to be grateful for, you’ll have tangible evidence to flip through when you’re feeling down, a constant reminder whenever you need it.
By holding space, we mean intentionally being present in the space you’re in – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s important to set aside time to reflect on your day and creating a space to do so is of equal importance. Start by setting the tone. Choose your favourite room in your home and eliminate any distractions. Many people find it helpful to use scent to heighten their experience, which is where Grapefruit essential oil comes in. Grapefruit is known as the oil of gratitude as its citrusy scent clears away stress and negative energy and replaces it with feelings of contentment and gratitude. Simply adding a few drops of grapefruit to a diffuser can make a big difference in your mindset going into your practice. Next, dedicate 5-10 minutes to being quiet, and think about things you’re grateful for, the small and big wins that have happened to get you where you are today. Allow yourself to feel and release emotions like shame or guilt and focus and harness positive feelings of pride and joy.
Random acts of kindness
Have you ever been at the drive-thru and got a free meal thanks to the kind stranger ahead of you? Remember how great that felt? The truth is, that person felt even greater doing it. In a way, being generous is selfish because you receive so much happiness in return. It’s so easy to be kind to others; you could pay for a stranger’s coffee, hold the door open for someone, donate to a GoFundMe, or even check in on a friend or family member. The act can be small or large, but either way, it will increase your feelings of gratitude for the life you lead and all that you have to offer the world.
The best thing about gratitude is that you can practice it any time, anywhere. And really, by expressing gratitude, you’re not only doing the right thing, you’re also giving yourself a positive boost as well, it’s a win-win. How do you practice gratitude? Let us know in the comments below!