Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Three Easy Gratitude Practices to Increase Joy


Got Five Minutes? Time for a Gratitude Practice

You've probably read the research that talks about gratitude increasing happiness. If not, check it out - Harvard says so, as does Psychology Today, and even Forbes, just to name a few. Of course, there is also the religious grounding in gratitude that should not be overlooked. But, maybe you're wondering how to make gratitude a daily practice. Here are three easy techniques that Mr. Awesome and I use to practice gratitude every day.

1) Top Three. Every night before bed, Mr. Awesome and I ask each other what three things we were most grateful for that day or our "Top Three". This practice helps get the mind focused on positive things as we head into sleep. Top Three also offers a chance to connect in a more meaningful way about what's happened in your day without grousing at each other about the things that made you crazy. No matter how bad the day is, there are always three things you can find to be grateful for, even if it's just that you have indoor plumbing or there was food to eat or that the sun rose that day. Once we get started, we often share seven to ten things we were grateful for in the day. My insomnia has definitely reduced since we started this practice and I am more mindful of positive things happening throughout the day. If you don't have a significant other to share this practice with, don't despair! Perhaps you can set up this practice via text with a friend, or share this ritual with your kids at their bedtime, or write down the three things you're grateful for on a piece of paper and place them in a Joy Jar that you can peruse on New Year's Eve. Time commitment: 5 minutes

2) Gratitude Journal. I am on Year Five of my five-year gratitude journal. Each night before bed, I write down a quick paragraph about what I am grateful for that day - sometimes this restates things I shared with Mr. Awesome, sometimes it's something different, and sometimes it's an in depth exploration of one of the things I shared. Being in the last year of the journal, it's wonderful to look back at all the things I was grateful for on that day in the past five years. Time commitment: 5 minutes

3) Set an Intention. This is my newest effort. I love reflecting on my day and being grateful, but I wanted to infuse gratitude throughout my day. I also had this gorgeous Joy Jar that a lovely friend gave me that I wanted to use, so I decided to start each day by setting an intention. For a few minutes each morning I contemplate - 'What am I anticipating today? What have I been struggling with? What am I worried about? What do I need to make this day great?' Whatever it is, I will set an intention to help focus my day. I write the date and my intention and then put it in a picture holder where I can see it at my desk. At the end of the day, I fold it up and put it in my Joy Jar. This intention can help me refocus when I struggle, be mindful, and be my best self. Time commitment: 5 minutes

Joy Jar - good for gratitude or setting intentions.
What do you do to increase gratitude in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

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