Why you should try a 'Gratitude Month'
“If you want to find happiness. Find gratitude”
During my self help/ self improvement / finding myself era, which basically seems to be ever since a break up in 2018 I’ve read so much about gratitude in books, blogs, magazines and socials.
I’d dabbled here and there but never really stuck to my practice for longer than a week, dipping in and out and generally just forgetting that I’d defaced the first few pages of one of my never ending collection of beautiful notebooks… sigh.
Surely it was worth giving it a go ‘properly’.
At the end of January I started to write down the things I was grateful for every morning at work.
Granted, I missed the weekends but it set my days up so nicely that I immediately started to feel the positivity that greeted me every morning when I opened up my word document ‘Jan Gratitude’.
I loved it so much that I decided to add the goal of a daily gratitude practice to my February goals list and set my morning reminder in my calendar.
So far February hasn’t been the best of months for me so I’m definitely feeling the need to feel grateful for what is going well and what I do have right now!
Now, personally I think this practice is better done in a notebook, the physical action of writing something down in your own handwriting onto paper just hits different and, if you’re a hoarder of notebooks like I am the beauty of keeping something so special is just magical to go back on at a later date too.
Plus, have you seen the amazing things people create in bullet journals for gratitude… WOW.
But… fear not! If you don’t want to lug around a notebook there are other ways to practice that morning hug! (This is just a simple shortlist, there are so many ways you can incorporate gratitude into your daily life just ask Google!)
A simple word document that you can access anywhere, anytime.
A gratitude jar - Write down something you’re grateful for, pop it in a jar and pull one out whenever you feel a bit down. (I haven’t done this but LOVE the idea).
Part of your morning meditation practice - Adding in a few moments to think of all the things you are grateful for and really feeling into them.
Simply noticing things on your travels - Taking the time to look around and smile at the things that light you up may that be the birds singing in the trees or the sunshine on your face as you take your lunchtime stroll.
So what is all the hype on gratitude anyway?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.”
Expressing gratitude is associated with a number of health benefits including lower blood pressure, improved immune function, better sleep and people that express gratitude have also been found to take part in more exercise, have a better diet and are less likely to smoke and drink excessively.
See you later depressed hangover!
It’s not just your physical health that benefits from a dose of the good stuff, it’s your mental health too! With the never ending barrage of bad news (especially in the UK I might add, fuck you big media companies!) it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel however, adding gratitude into your daily life has been shown to aid people in feeling more happier and optimistic emotions, become more empathetic, reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body and decrease levels of anxiety and depression even in suicidal people so there really is no reason not to give it a go!
Positive gestures to others win you extra brownie points on the gratitude scale too!
Things like paying it forward, saying thank you or even better giving a thank you letter release Oxytocin the ‘love hormone’ which has been shown to create anti-stress like effects and reduces cortisol levels for both parties!
So whether you’re feeling a bit down or if your high on life practicing gratitude in its many forms is a sure fire way of getting some extra feel good vibes into your life!
“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.”