Why Tracking What You Are Grateful For Can Make a Difference
We track our food intake throughout the day to make sure we are putting the right kinds and amounts of food into our bodies. We track our exercise to ensure we are burning enough calories and following a regiment to hit our fitness goals. We work hard on our physical health.
But what about our mental health?
One of the best activities we can do for our mental health is tracking and expressing gratitude. According to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people. They exercise more regularly and have regular check-ups with their doctors, which likely contributes to longer life.
Finding things we are grateful for is easy, free, and the benefits to our health and relationships are unmatched. Here are some practical ways to cultivate a heart of gratitude and make this your SUMMER OF GRATITUDE:
- Write Thank You Notes
Think back on your past to people who have impacted your life. Maybe a coach, neighbor or friend. Make time this week to send them a hand-written note to let them know what you appreciate about them.
- Make A Blessings Jar
Put a jar in your home with small sheets of paper and a pen nearby. Encourage everyone to write down a blessing, or a good thing that has happened each day and place them in the jar. At the end of each week, empty the jar and read the blessings of the week out loud.
- Start a Gratitude Journal
Spend time each evening or morning reflecting back on the day and try and think of 3-5 things you are grateful for. Be creative with those things for which you are thankful. Pinterest has some great gratitude prompts if you feel stuck.
- Make a Relationship Gratitude List
If you’re feeling distant from a spouse or loved one, making a gratitude list will often help bring connection. For 30 days, write one thing that you have noticed about them that you are thankful for. At the end of the 30 days, give them the list and let them know how you have been aware of all they have done.
Start each morning with a moment of quiet reflection.
Are you awake? Give thanks for life.
Are you able to stand and stretch? Give thanks for health.
Are there people you love in your life? Give thanks for relationships.
Spend 5 minutes before your feet even hit the floor to say thank you for the things you have been given and for what is to come in your day.
A heart of gratitude may take time to develop. Like any muscle, if it hasn’t been used for a while, it may be difficult at first. But if you can intentionally make this summer be one of gratitude, like any habit, in just a few short weeks, you will see a dramatic difference in the way you see yourself, the world, and those you love. Give it a try! Who can you say “thank you” to today?