With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s a wonderful time to begin a gratitude for your health practice. For some, the holidays naturally bring out gratitude; there is so much joy and celebration happening all around us! For others, however, the holidays can be challenging and highlight negative feelings or past negative experiences. Whichever camp you fall into, practicing gratitude offers a boost.
Did you know that a consistent practice of gratitude has health benefits that positively impact both your physical and mental wellbeing? The practice of gratitude has been scientifically shown to improve immunity, mood, and sleep. It’s also been shown to decrease symptoms of depression, chronic pain and anxiety while also lowering your risk of disease. We’d say this sounds like a win-win, wouldn’t you?
How to Start a Gratitude Practice for Your Health
Starting a gratitude practice isn’t rocket science. The key is consistency, and we’ve got a few structural suggestions to help you create your method.
1. Choose a time of day to engage in your practice. Is it first thing in the morning before your feet hit the floor? At dinner with your family? Before you go to sleep at night? Identify a time that permits you to be consistent.
2. Choose a method. Will you speak your gratitude out loud, to yourself or to others? Will you keep a journal so you can reflect on your experiences? Choose what is most comfortable for you.
3. Aim for a specific number of things that you are grateful for. If this is a challenging practice for you, finding one thing you are thankful for each day is a fabulous place to start. If you enjoy this practice a lot, you might list five, 10 or even 20 things that you are grateful for each day.
4. Focus on different areas of your life to be thankful for. Perhaps you aim to name one thing from each category of home, family, work ,and friends (feel free to create your own categories). Or, you can choose one theme per week, allowing your gratitude to go deep into the corners of your life.
5. Finally, expect imperfection. Having a perfect gratitude practice isn’t the goal, nor is it possible. Doing your best here is more than good enough.
Allow us here at Gateway Hancock Health to express our gratitude for you – our patients and our community. It is an honor to serve Hancock County (and beyond), and we are grateful for what we’ve been able to accomplish together. To your health!