#stayhomestayhopeful - Gratitude.
April 07, 2020
By Sheri Tiziani, MS, LPC, Primary Therapist
Gratitude is a practice that we can all benefit from greatly in our daily lives. It has a tremendous impact on our mental health and overall well-being. Studies have shown that a successful practice in gratitude can increase immune response, lower blood pressure, decrease stress, improve sleep, and lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Gratitude can be used as an intervention to enhance overall well-being.
In light of the extremely challenging circumstances we are all facing today, gratitude can serve as an especially powerful force in our lives. It anchors us to be still in the present, to acknowledge all we are thankful for and the things that matter most.
My family has found many recent opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade (even if we can’t actually sell it on our street corner due to social distancing).
Those who may feel that beginning a gratitude practice is impossible, at worst, and daunting at best, you may be relieved to know that the most effective gratitude practices can also be the most simple.
Here are a few ways to practice mindfulness and gratitude:
Make a Joy Jar:
Our joy jar is decorated in fun colors and my family keeps it in the center of our dining table. During meal times we write things down on small pieces of paper, read them out loud, and drop them in the jar. These include things that brought us joy throughout the day, things that we are grateful for, or simply things we noticed. It’s been a great way for our family to connect, and reread and revisit moments later on.
I find it helpful to set a daily intention which is the very first thing I do each morning before even getting out of bed. It anchors me in this mindset, and when I pause to be mindful in moments throughout the day, I reflect back on my daily intention while also acknowledging other things I am grateful for.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this and it’s a nice way to start or end the day. The important thing is to capture what’s most significant to you. Simply write down (or type) the things you are grateful for on a daily basis. You can use a journal, diary, notebook, or just a piece of paper. If you’re committed to being green or just find it easier to do things digitally, you can use one of the many gratitude apps or even a simple Word document.
Gratitude meditation can be practiced in many different settings. It’s a simple form of meditation because all you have to do is just reflect on all the people and things you are grateful for. It is important to note that gratitude is not just about being thankful for the good things in your life, but it is about being thankful for everything in your life. There are things in your life which might initially seem bad, but upon further reflection actually, give you an opportunity to learn and grow. Part of gratitude is recognizing the blessings in all things.
I invite you to incorporate one of these practices above into your daily lives.
Gratitude is like a muscle. The more you practice it, the stronger it becomes. The key is to be consistent and build it into your daily routines.
For more on the physical and mental health benefits of gratitude, as well as ideas for practice visit:
Learn More about Practicing CBT, DBT & Mindfulness