Focus on the positives

Focus on the positives

Ways to practice gratitude 🙏🏻

MP EDITION 049


Showing gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you”, and you can show gratitude for many things from getting a raise to getting ice cream. Gratitude distances you from the negative emotions that can be debilitating and instead, encourages you to focus on the positives.

Benefits of gratitude

Before we get to the ways to practice gratitude, let’s talk a little bit about why expressing gratitude is so important. There has been a lot of research conducted on the benefits of gratitude, and it’s been shown that the simple act of expressing gratitude can have a significant impact on our well-being, satisfaction, and happiness. The benefits of gratitude is as much physical as it is psychological. When you express or receive gratitude, dopamine is released, so the more you practice gratitude, the more often dopamine is released. Practicing gratitude is an exercise that has compounding benefits. When you practice gratitude regularly, you’ll start to associate the act with feeling good over time. 



The benefits for individuals include: 

  • Increased happiness 
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased optimism
  • Higher satisfaction with life
  • Reduced burnout
  • Increased self-satisfaction and self-esteem
  • Increased quality of sleep
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Greater mental resilience and strength
  • Reduced risk for depression, loneliness, and isolation
  • Enhanced inspiration and creativity
  • Stronger immune systems
  • Less aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure

The act of practicing gratitude can contribute to the collective as well. Gratitude helps people appreciate things and people more, which in turn makes them more helpful, compassionate, and forgiving. Gratitude enables us to create stronger bonds and relationships with one another because we’re able to be more empathetic. 

Practicing gratitude exercises

Practicing gratitude doesn’t always happen in perfect situations, but sometimes it can be challenging to be grateful in difficult situations: when you’ve just lost a loved one, when you're sick, when you’ve experienced a crippling set back at work, or you’re going through a painful breakup but arguably, practicing gratitude is more important than ever during those difficult times to help you focus on the positives.



When it comes to gratitude, a gratitude journal is the most common exercise that is mentioned, which explains the increase in
The Five Minute Journal and similar items in the last few years. It’s the idea that you consistently document the things that you are grateful for. This approach can be effective for some but practicing gratitude looks different for everyone. How it will be truly effective and how you’ll do it consistently is if you find the method that works for you. Besides keeping a journal, here are some other ways you can express gratitude daily: 

  • Meditate: If meditation is more your stream, focus on being mindful of what you’re grateful for.
  • Get visual: If you’re more of a visual person, you can get creative with your daily gratitudes. Write it on a sticky note and put it on your mirror every day.
  • Have a gratitude jar: If you want to get crafty with it, create a gratitude jar and plop in something you’re grateful for every day in the jar. It’s a tangible reminder that you have a lot to be grateful for. Plus, a gratitude jar has the bonus of doubling as an instant mood booster. When you’re feeling down, read a few past notes to remind yourself what’s good in your life.
  • Write gratitude letters: Maybe you want to extend your gratitude to others. Try picking someone to write a letter expressing thanks every week.
  • Pay it forward. One thing gratitude does is make us more compassionate and one way to feel thankful for what you have is to help those less fortunate than you. This can be in many forms such as donating to shelters or volunteering your time.
  • Random act of kindness:  A small gesture of kindness can have a lasting, joyful impact for both the giver and the receiver. It can be as simple as paying for the coffee order of the customer behind you. When you show generosity of spirit even a genuine smile can be contagious and it often triggers a grateful chain reaction.

We want to preface this by saying that this is by no means meant to replace medical advice, and we urge you to see professional guidance if you need it. These are meant to be recommendations for some ways to incorporate gratitude into your life that may help improve and enhance it.



At the core of it, gratitude is an active mindset shift where you are thankful for what you have (positives) rather than focusing on what you lack (negatives). It’s a survival instinct to focus on what is wrong but by slowing down, and practicing gratitude for things both big and small will help you reap benefits in overall mental health, satisfaction, and happiness. 

 



Muff love. 

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