How to practice gratitude

01 November 2021

Willow Chiropractic journaling

Practicing gratitude regularly has lots of benefits, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to be able to start. If you’ve never done it before you might not know how to practice gratitude, or why you should practice gratitude. So, what does practicing gratitude mean?

It’s about taking the time to notice and reflect upon the things you are thankful for. It shouldn’t only be when big events happen that you express gratitude. It can be something as small as eating your favourite meal, or something that you usually take for granted.

There are so many reasons to practice gratitude. Gratitude can help to reduce stress, increase positive feelings, improve your ability to adapt to disruptive events, and help to nurture hope for the future. It also helps you to change the way you view different situations. It opens your eyes to the world around you, and that’s when you start to notice new things each day. This changes your mindset which means you can overcome whatever worries you might have. It leaves you feeling more connected.

When you first start, some of the same things might keep coming up, which is completely fine. If you start to write about the same things week after week, month after month, you won’t experience the same benefits. 

For example, you might say that you are grateful for your family. This only scratches the surface which means your brain doesn’t keep looking for moments to be grateful for. If you delve a little deeper and say “I am grateful for my mum cooking for me today because she knew that I had a busy day ahead of me”, this is much more beneficial. 

Here are our three top tips on how to practice gratitude:

1. Keep track of what you are grateful for

There are so many different ways that you can note down what you’re grateful for, but one of the most common ones is by keeping a gratitude journal. You can just use a normal pad of paper, but if you’re not sure on what to put in a gratitude journal, you could invest in one specifically designed for it. They often have prompts to help you think about different parts of your life in different ways.

If journaling isn’t for you, there are other gratitude techniques that you can try. Get creative with it!

You could even create a gratitude jar. Every time you experience a moment of gratitude, write it on a small piece of paper and put it in the jar. At the end of the year you can empty the jar and reflect on everything you have been grateful for.

It’s always a good idea to reflect on your experiences either weekly, monthly, yearly, whatever works best for you.

2. Go for depth over breadth

When you first start practicing gratitude, it can be easy to just make a long list of things that you are grateful for each day. It’s much better to narrow down your list and go into what they mean. Try to write down one thing you are grateful for and two to three reasons why you are grateful for it.

For example, “I am grateful for my health because it allows me to do the things I love and enjoy, and make the most of my time with my family and friends.”

When you dig deeper, you can start to understand what you are thankful for and what impact it has on your life.

3. Commit to a regular time

Whether you set aside time every morning or evening, three times a week, or once a week, make sure you plan time into your day to sit down and focus purely on gratitude. It’s easy to get lost in your busy schedules and it can start to feel like days just pass you by without you even really noticing. We are surrounded by so many distractions every day, so create a distraction free zone for 15-30 minutes.

By committing to a certain time to sit down and reflect, it makes sure that you don’t let practicing gratitude slip by you, and that you can fully devote your energy to it. It also helps your practice to become a habit. Humans are creatures of habit. We spend years developing our personalities and behaviours, so when we try to throw a new habit into the mix, it’s not going to happen overnight.

Scheduling it in helps to keep you accountable and gives space for a habit to develop.

We know when you first start practicing gratitude it can be difficult to think of things you are grateful for. That’s why we have created a list of 22 daily gratitude prompts to help you get started.

Gratitude Prompts:
  1. A person who inspires you.
  2. A person you are thankful for.
  3. The best thing that happened today.
  4. What made you laugh today?
  5. What did you learn today?
  6. A strength of yours.
  7. An act of kindness you experienced recently.
  8. A challenge you have overcome.
  9. Something in nature you are thankful for.
  10. What positive memory makes you happy?
  11. The simple things in life you appreciate the most
  12. What are you looking forward to this year?
  13. What goals have you achieved recently?
  14. Find a photo you love, and write down a few things that make you feel good about this photo – where were you and what do you remember?
  15. Think about your five senses and write down something you are grateful for, related to each sense.
  16. Who makes your life easier on a regular basis?
  17. What relationship do you have that you take for granted? How can you show more gratitude to this person?
  18. A song do you love and what it makes you think about?
  19. What made you smile today?
  20. What was one small victory you had today?
  21. When did I feel peaceful today?
  22. What made you feel energised today?

The health benefits that practicing gratitude has are well complemented by other habits that help to achieve an overall state of wellness. It takes more than just eating healthily and exercising to stay well, there are other pieces of the puzzle that need to be considered. One of these is chiropractic.

Stress builds up in your body and impacts different functions and processes. Chiropractors look for subluxations (blockages and interferences from stressors) in your spine, and reduce them through applying a specific, controlled force. This means your body can better adapt and cope with stress. 

If you’re ready to take the next step towards wellness, click here to book your consultation.

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