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‘Tis the season to give thanks, and for good reason. The health and wellness communities have been shouting gratitude from the rooftops for years, and it’s been proven to be a great mindfulness hack. If you feel extra warm and fuzzy inside around the holidays, it’s likely due to an emphasis on gratitude.

Today, we’re sharing all of the amazing ways gratitude can benefit your daily life long after the holiday season and five ways to practice it.

* Image by wayhomestudio

Using Gratitude to Reduce Stress

Where your focus goes, so do you. If you tend to harp on the obstacles and negative issues in life, you’re training your brain to look for more of it. On the flip side, if you make an effort to focus on the good things in life, you’ll absorb more of those experiences.

One study showed that there is a strong correlation between daily gratitude practices and overall well-being. [1] This indicates that expressing thanks everyday can improve satisfaction in life, and therefore, reduce stress. Author and leading scientific expert on gratitude, Robert A. Emmons, claims that regular thoughts of thankfulness can increase happiness by 25%. [2] Both of these resources support the idea that using gratitude to reduce stress is an effective tool.

5 Ways to Practice Gratitude

Being aware of the positive effects of gratitude is great, but putting it into practice is the only way to reap the benefits. There are countless ways to show thanks in your everyday life that don’t include going around the dinner table sharing what you’re grateful for in life. Here are five easy ways to practice gratitude:

  1. Journal

One of the most common ways to express gratitude is by journaling. The simple act of writing a list of things you’re grateful for can help you start or end your day on a good note. People tend to get stuck focusing on the big things in life, when really, the best things are found in the mundane. Think about how friendly your barista was this morning, or how when you were late for work a stranger let you into their lane in heavy traffic. These are simple acts of kindness that remind us of the importance of gratitude.

    2. Pre-Meal Prayer

You don’t need to be religious to give thanks before a meal. Mindful meals are a great way to express gratitude. Thinking about all of the people, plants, and animals that made the meal on your plate possible is a great place to start. You can thank the farmers that harvested it, the clerk who helped you check out at the store, and your friend or spouse that made it into a meal. These are all great ways to bless your food and give thanks.

   3. Everyday Acknowledgments

Most people aren’t praised enough in life. Giving a stranger a compliment or telling a friend how much they mean to you are great ways to give thanks. Even if it’s not a direct “thank you”, acknowledging someone for adding joy to your life is a heartwarming way to express gratitude. 

   4. Positive Affirmations

It’s easy to express gratitude when you’re in a good mood, but it’s almost more important to give thanks when you’re not. Repeating positive affirmations sends the message to your brain that you’re resilient. [3] Affirmations are “I am” statements such as “I am strong, I am smart, I am capable, and I am grateful.” Reading or speaking affirmations can help ease stress and improve feelings of gratitude.

   5. Do More Of What You Love

Do you ever do something that makes you say “I should do that more often”? Do more of that. Whether it’s watching the sunrise, riding your bike instead of walking, cooking with family, or anything else. These simple but wholesome activities can help make us feel more grateful for everyday life. Watching the sunset can increase gratitude for mother nature, bike riding can help you show thanks for your body, and cooking can help bond you with others. 

Looking for more tips? Check out the articles on It’s Me and You.

From the Dandy Blend team, we are so grateful for you being a part of our community and we hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Dandy Blend is not a supplement or medicine. Any health related questions or concerns, we always recommend consulting with your primary care physician. 

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