Gratitude: The What, Why, and How
November is National Gratitude Month! Here at Ascentim, that means 30 Days of Gratitude. It may seem like everyone is cultivating a gratitude practice these days, but what does that really mean? More importantly, what’s the point? And how can you build more gratitude into your everyday life?
Because we’re grateful for YOU, we’re breaking it all down in the ultimate guide to gratitude.
What is Gratitude?
In the simplest terms, gratitude is a practice during which you are actively thankful for whatever may be in your life, the little things and the big things. It’s an appreciation for all the gifts we’ve been given that add up to our precious existence.
It’s worth noting that an attitude of gratitude is proven to offer several advantages for our emotional and mental well-being and even our physical health. According to a vast number of studies, cultivating and building a gratitude practice in your everyday life can lead to big benefits! Let’s explore some of them together.
The Benefits of a Gratitude Practice
Uplift your mood and outlook on life: Gratitude can play a significant role in reducing symptoms of both anxiety and depression while boosting your feelings of well-being. As an added bonus, gratitude helps improve your overall outlook on life. After you begin to practice gratitude regularly, you might start feeling more optimistic about your present-day life and the bright future brimming on the horizon. That’s because gratefulness allows you to find more satisfaction in your life and enables you to appreciate the things you have – which are both important for happiness.
Strengthen your relationships: Cultivating a regular gratitude practice can be beneficial for your relationships. Gratitude can make your existing connection with a partner, friend, or family member healthier and more joyful. It can even help you to form new relationships more effectively. By appreciating the simple gestures that others do for you and being more thoughtful about what you can do for them, you’ll soon find that gratitude is a 2-way street. Love grows with gratitude.
Boost your immune system: In addition to boosting your overall mood and increasing your sense of well-being, a regular gratitude practice has been shown to reduce stress levels. The presence of stress can negatively impact our immune system, making us less prepared to
tackle any potential threats and leaving us more vulnerable to illness and disease. Conversely, reducing stress can improve our natural immune response.
Practicing gratitude can also play a part in reducing your risk of heart failure and disease by helping to keep your heart in great shape. Keeping your mental health strong and healthy through a robust gratitude practice helps your body stay fit and well. I’m grateful for that!
Building a Gratitude Practice
Incorporating gratitude into your life isn’t meant to be difficult or even time-consuming. You wouldn’t be very grateful for that! Instead, think about small rituals you can build into your daily routine.
Set an intention to pick three things each day that you are grateful for, and include the little things. Notice what brings you joy, even in a passing moment, and you’ll find gratitude organically. Those three things might include a perfect cup of coffee, the purr of a cat, or a surprisingly sunny day in the middle of winter.
To take it one step further, start a gratitude journal. Take those three things (or more) and write them down in a notebook before you go to bed each night. That will reinforce your practice and get you into a healthy habit of gratitude. Feels good, doesn’t it?
For more ways to practice gratitude, download my 30 Days of Gratitude Journal.
Building gratitude is like training any muscle – the more you practice, the stronger your gratitude skills will get. Before you know it, you’ll automatically incorporate gratitude into your daily life. You’ll soon see that it’s the best habit you could ever develop.
In closing, I encourage you to take a moment right now to write down three things you are grateful for today. Email them to me at email@example.com – I’d love to know what’s on your mind!
Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.