How do I personally practice Gratitude?
Now it’s all well and good me throwing all the science at you but realistically, how do I practise being grateful on a day to day basis.
One thing I do is list all the things I am grateful for in my head silently to myself. I usually start with the basic stuff like ‘I am grateful for food’, ‘I am grateful for clean water’, ‘I am grateful for a roof over my head’.
Even if I REALLY don’t feel like it that day, once I get started, I can usually snowball my list into a ton of things I am grateful for. I can even be grateful for the low points, the mistakes and the people who hurt me.
You can also write this list down. Maybe seeing a visual of what you are grateful for can solidify it more in your head.
DISCLAIMER. All the things I am about to mention I do out of my own choices. I was not paid to promote any person or app, I have just found that these things work well for me and would like to share them with anyone struggling out there. I am not affiliated with anyone or any company mentioned.
Here is some advice from family medical doctor and YouTube personality Doctor Mike. This is a video about his entire evening routine which helps him get a good nights sleep, but if you skip to 3:42 you will hear him discuss a gratitude exercise that helps him reduce his anxiety.
I also like to do yoga and Yoga with Adriene is my go to. I usually do my yoga before I go to sleep and this is one of the videos where I actually feel a reduction in my anxiety and boost in my mood when I’m finished. She also has other routines that cultivate gratitude if you go and visit her YouTube channel.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand chakras, neither do I, but this video works fine for me even if I don’t fully understand everything in it. Come with an open mind.
There’s also guided meditations that help you to cultivate gratitude. You can find these all over YouTube or you can download apps specifically designed for meditation. Remember that you might need to pay for these so keep that in mind.
I frequently use the app Headspace and I find that the quick 10 minute routines are great for me to get my meditation in for that day. They have specific meditations for cultivating gratitude too.
So those are a few ways I like to practise gratitude but there are so many other options out there (CBT, other positive psychologies). The ones I mentioned are the techniques and methods that fit into my routine and that work for me.
See what you can find that works for you.
A final word
I will leave you with a few thoughts, tidbits you could say, from what I have learnt along my mental wellness journey. This is not necessarily related to gratitude but more general advice and thoughts from what I have gathered along the road.
All feelings are temporary.
Sad feelings will pass. Happy feelings will pass. What I’ve learnt from meditation is that it’s more about keeping a balance of your emotions so that you’re not swamped or overwhelmed by a certain one.
Noticing and observing how you feel is also important, but try not to dwell too much on one particular emotion/feeling. Perhaps naming the emotions you’re feeling might help. This is so that you can get to the specific root of why you’re feeling the way you are.
This works well for me when I am feeling down or negative. It helps me feel less anxious and allows me to understand the chaos going on in my head.
With that in mind, be gentle with yourself if you feel sad, lonely, worthless or upset. I used to be so disappointed with myself if I wasn’t feeling good one day and didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to do. Why hate on yourself like that? You’re human and not designed to work like a machine. You will have bad days but like I mentioned before, they’re only temporary. So be kind and forgive yourself.
Mental health shouldn’t be a taboo in society.
Having a mental health condition has been a taboo in society for a very long time. This stigma prevented people from seeking help and therefore going through life experiencing unnecessary struggle. By gradually removing the confusion and the shame around mental health and beginning to understand ourselves with compassion, we can welcome discussions around mental health and understand what specific help we might need to flourish in life.
Thankfully we are a lot father along than we were and topics such as therapy are coming up in conversations on par with going to the gym. It makes sense, since therapy is like a gym for your mind.
By continuing these conversations and integrating discussions about therapy and mental health into our daily life, we can continue to get better at understanding and accepting but we all still have a long way to go.
Seek professional help whenever necessary.
I would even go on to say seek therapy and advice even if you don’t have a specific mental health condition. We could all use a little help understanding why we think and feel the way we do.
A licenced therapist is a non-biased observer who is willing to tell you things that your friends and family wont. They will work with you to help unpack anything you need to, so you can begin to understand yourself further. What you potentially learn in your sessions will be invaluable not just for yourself, but for those around you who love you and who want the best for you.
Thanks for getting this far.
If you want more information, I will link some resources below for you to look at and browse through. Knowledge is power.
It may be difficult to sit with your own thoughts and try to understand what’s actually going on, but if you get into the habit, it will slowly become easier and will improve your mental health and understanding of life in the long run.
I hope you have managed to learn something insightful from this post. Remember, mental health is for life, not just for one designated month out of the year, so it doesn’t matter what pace you’re going at, just as long as you keep going.
Resources for Further Reading
Mental Health Foundation – (UK) This is a landing platform providing suggestions and links for who to see and where to go if you feel like you are developing a mental health condition.
Time to Change – (UK) Another platform providing contact information and helpline numbers of prominent mental health organisations and charities.
NHS – (UK) The NHS have suggestions on what to do if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and are seeking mental health advice. They also have a great list of groups and charities for you to visit if you want further practical help.
WHO – (Global) Here you can see what research is being undertaken to better understand mental health on a global scale. Feel free to browse around and educate yourself on this.