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Gratitude is a powerful emotion. Chances are you're grateful for all you have, but do you take the time to express your thankfulness on a regular basis?
If you're looking for a way to boost your mood and improve your overall wellness, practicing daily gratitude is a great place to start! It's not just a nice thing to do — this seemingly small act can lead to a ton of mental and physical benefits.
The importance of daily gratitude
Believe it or not, expressing gratitude can have a positive effect on your health. Yes, really! Studies have shown grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and tend to feel healthier overall.
Of course, there are lots of mental benefits to expressing gratitude in your daily life, too. For instance, you may notice your relationships are healthier, and you could feel more empathy, experience fewer negative emotions and even have better self-esteem.
5 Easy ways to express your gratitude
If you could reap all these benefits by doing one easy activity a day, why wouldn't you make it part of your routine? To help you get started, here are five easy strategies to make daily gratitude a habit.
1. Say "thanks" more often
It may sound obvious, but simply thanking others is one of the easiest ways to practice gratitude. Don't you love it when someone thanks you for something? You can get into the habit by saying it more freely to your friends, family and coworkers.
You can also say "thank you" with your actions! Surprising a coworker with their favorite cup of coffee or mailing a care package to a long-distance friend will make you (and the recipient) feel super thankful.
2. Meditate for 5 minutes
Meditation is a great way to ground yourself and take time to appreciate the good things in life. To experience its benefits first-hand, try meditating for a short time, even just five minutes, in the morning or before bed.
If you're new to meditation, it's a good idea to go into the experience with some kind of goal or structure, even something as simple as listing things you're thankful for. You could also try using a guided meditation app or video — there are plenty available online at no cost!
If you'd rather let someone else lead the way, try visiting a meditation center or yoga studio. Not only will you be guaranteed a calm, relaxing environment, it's also a wonderful way to connect with your community.
3. Write it down!
Another popular way to express daily gratitude is in a journal or diary. According to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the simple act of writing down things you're grateful for can boost your mood and improve your well-being. It can even help you sleep better.
If you want to share your gratitude with the world, you could try posting little notes on social media. Tag the friends you're thankful for, the restaurant you ate a great meal at or the musician whose tunes brightened your day. Who knows, maybe this will encourage other people to reflect on their own reasons to be grateful!
4. Volunteer in your community
Giving back to your community is another great way to practice gratitude. If you're able to, carve out time once a month to volunteer at a local food pantry, homeless shelter, hospital or animal shelter. Offering a helping hand will help you be grateful for your own blessings, and studies show that volunteering can increase your happiness as well as fight stress. That's definitely a win-win.
5. Try to find the silver linings
It's easy to maintain a grateful outlook on life when everything's going well; it's a lot harder when you're faced with a challenging situation. However, if you can find the good in the tough times, you'll be able to weather them with a positive attitude (and a whole lot less stress).
Search for the silver lining in every situation, even if it's something as small as having a loving support system to carry you through hardships or being able to help a friend who needs you.
The people around you — who push you forward, who help you, who make you laugh — are worth thanking, and you're entitled to the benefits that action will bring!
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