Understanding and Exploring Gratitude
Gratitude is something we talk about in good times and bad. When times are good, we say we’re grateful for success, for relationships, or for accomplishments. In tougher times, we might rely on the gratitude we have had in good times to help us make it through. Simply said, gratitude is omnipresent. Understanding and exploring gratitude can help us to improve our quality of life and strengthen our relationships with ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us.
What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. It is expressed through words, actions, and relationships.
How Can You Practice Gratitude?
It’s easy to practice gratitude. It can be as simple as saying “thank you,” or reminding yourself what you are grateful for.
- You can tell your loved ones you’re grateful for them.
- Let people know you’re thinking of them by reaching out or offering a gift.
- Practice kindness in dealing with strangers.
- Participate in charity events, pick up litter, or volunteer.
- Simply appreciate and marvel at the beauty of nature.
- Take a gratitude break.
What is a gratitude break?
A gratitude break is a small piece of time taken to reflect on all of the things in your life that you are grateful for. A gratitude break can be as short as 30 seconds or as long as five minutes. For a quick-fix, strive to take a full minute reflecting on your gratitude.
How Can You Take A Gratitude Break?
The key to taking a gratitude break is starting small and thinking simply. Start by finding a quiet space where you can be with your thoughts. Feel free to bring photos or items that bare some emotional significance to you. Take a few deep breaths and start thinking of basic things that you’re grateful for: your life, your health, your ability to provide for yourself. Repeat the mantra “I am grateful for” and finish the sentence with anything you wish. Once you’ve covered the basics, continue on to your own characteristics that you’re grateful for, such as your willingness to always be positive or strong sense of self. After you’ve expressed gratitude for yourself, continue on to your family and friends. Take a deep breath to complete your break, smile, and continue on with your day. Once you’ve finished your gratitude break, notice the lightness you’ll feel both mentally and physically. Keep this tool in your pocket and use it whenever you need it.
How Do You Know What You’re Grateful For?
If you’re having trouble thinking of things you’re grateful for, start simple. You can be thankful for the air you breath, the food in your pantry, or the roof over your head. Gratitude can also be expressed for family, friends, and even yourself. It can be broad, or specific. Exploring gratitude often leads us to uncover the things we are grateful for that aren’t as obvious! You will know what you’re grateful for something if it ignites joy and appreciation in your mind and soul. Gratitude is not a feeling we feel just once, but something felt in perpetuity. You just have to remind yourself of it.
If you’re interested in exploring gratitude further, follow Soothe therapist Julie Cielo’s suit and make a list of things you’re grateful for.