Gratitude is one of those fancy words that are being thrown around lately, like self-care, mental health, and vision boards. They all seem like some type of new-age or hippie thing. Possibly. And let you in on a little secret? I write about all these things and more because all are important. But what is the magic of gratitude, and how does it help?
Why do I consider gratitude magical? Because the more you use it, the more positive you become. When you’re looking for things to be grateful about, you’re looking for positive things that happened, not negative ones. You don’t need to be at Hogwarts to realize that the more you look for positive things, the more you see positive things and vice versa.
Gratitude is powerful magic because it is something we can all choose to do. It doesn’t cost anything, and it doesn’t take much time. But the benefits can be huge. So next time you’re feeling down, try a little gratitude. It just might work some magic in your life.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is commonly defined as the feeling of appreciation for something that has been done for us. It is often directed toward people who have helped us or given us something, but it can also be directed at life in general, or specific experiences or things.
For instance, you can be grateful for a special sunrise. The other morning I was witness to a glorious one and even took pictures of the sunrise reflecting off the setting full moon.
Gratitude has been shown to have a number of benefits for our mental and physical health. It can help reduce stress and improve our mood, and it has even been linked to better sleep. One study found that people who kept a gratitude journal slept better and felt more rested than those who didn’t. Gratitude can also help us to build better relationships and improve our mental health.
Gratitude can be a powerful tool in helping us to cope with difficult times. When things are going wrong, taking a step back to appreciate what is going well in our lives can help us to maintain perspective and to see that we do have something to be thankful for.
For instance, while my sister lay dying in an induced coma, I was able to read to her at night. While desperately in pain from the sadness of what was happening, I was also grateful that we had this shared bond. She was 15 years older than me, and when I was young, she read me my first book. I know that as she lay dying, I read her her last book.
Her family was also grateful that I was doing this. Throughout her life, my sister was surrounded by and read books on a daily basis. They were not only grateful that I was going to spend a couple of hours reading to her from one of her favorite authors, but they were also grateful that I was “taking over” for that time period. They could go home, rest, shower, pay bills, whatever they had to do while knowing I was with her.
Why Expressing Your Gratitude Benefits You
Maintaining a regular gratitude practice can bring many benefits to our lives. The magic of gratitude has been linked with greater levels of happiness, better sleep, improved immune function, and decreased pain levels.
Gratitude allows us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, even during tough times. It can be easy to take the good things in our lives for granted, but practicing gratitude reminds us to appreciate the little things. When we step back and appreciate the good, it helps us to recognize just how much we have to be thankful for.
When we show our gratitude, we not only improve our own mood but also make the world around us a happier place. When we express gratitude, we release positive vibes into the world, which can have a ripple effect on the people around us. The more positive we are, the more positive people around us will become. That’s the magic of gratitude.
So why not give it a try? Next time you’re feeling down, take a moment to focus on the things you’re grateful for. It may just be the pick-me-up you need to turn your day around.
Different Ways to Express Gratitude:
There are many different ways to express gratitude. One is to simply say thank you.
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.Meister Eckhart
You can also express gratitude by doing something nice for someone, or by giving them a gift. If you want to express gratitude in a more creative way, you can make a collage or write a poem. You can also cook someone a special meal, or do something to make their day a little brighter. Let the person know how much you appreciate them, and why you are grateful for their presence in your life.
But most times, gratitude isn’t just about showing or telling someone. It’s about reminding yourself about what you’re grateful for. Marking it down.
Gratitude journaling is a way of thinking deliberately about the things we’re thankful for. It’s a form of mindfulness, a practice of noticing and focusing on the positive things in our lives. Gratitude journaling can be done in any way that feels comfortable for you. You can use a notebook, a journal app on your phone, or even your daily planner.
The important thing is to write down what you’re grateful for and to do it regularly. Some prefer to do it in the morning, others prefer to do it at night. Experiment with what works for you. If you’re trying to capture the 3 to five things you were grateful for each day, then you might want to make it a nightly ritual.
Gratitude journaling is a tool that can be used to increase our overall happiness and well-being. It helps us to focus on the good, and to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness. Gratitude journaling can be a very personal practice. It’s a way to get in touch with our own thoughts and feelings and to connect with what’s important to us. We can use it to reflect on the things that make us happy, and the people and experiences that are most meaningful to us.
How to Do It: If you’re thinking about starting a gratitude journal, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, start small. Just a few sentences each day is enough. If you’re planning on doing 5 things each day but have never even started with one first, then start there. Write one or two things each day and then slowly build up to five.
Second, be specific. Rather than just writing, “I’m grateful for my family,” try to think about specific things that you’re thankful for, like “I’m grateful for the way my spouse always listens to me, even when I’m rambling on about something.”
Third, be consistent. Gratitude journaling is most effective when it’s done regularly, so try to make it a part of your daily routine.
This is something that my husband and I do, we keep a yearly Gratitude Jar. We have a fancy wine decanter with a stopper on the top. We have blank slips of paper on which we write what we’re grateful for and then fold them up and stick them in the bottle. At the end of the year, on New Year’s Eve, we empty out the bottle and read each one aloud. It’s a cool way to look back on the year and see what we were each grateful for.
You can be grateful for the big things, like your health, your family, your job, or your home. You can also be grateful for the small things, like a hot cup of coffee on a cold day, a sunny day after a string of rainy ones, or a good book to curl up with. Taking a few moments each day to focus on what you are grateful for can have a big impact on your overall well-being. So start practicing today, and see how the magic of gratitude can change your life for the better.
Attached, you’ll find a copy of a mini Gratitude Journal that I created for you. You can print out copies of as many pages as you need. You can use both the Daily Journal and the Daily Reflection sheets, or you can choose to use only one of the sheets for your daily Gratitude Practice.