Today’s question is why is gratitude important? The answer is interesting. You may think that gratitude belongs in that “woo woo” category, but I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth.
Would you be surprised to discover that gratitude could be a key to unlocking your best life possible?
You may have heard about the importance of expressing gratitude or starting a daily practice, but do you know why people recommend it so often?
Aside from the fact that it is always a good idea to be more grateful and appreciative of the good things in your life, there are some other ways it can benefit you. Read about it below 🙂
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food, getting some sunshine, and purging unhelpful thinking is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life.
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My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
Why Gratitude Is Very Important
Gratitude is a key to life. That may sound bold, but bare with me.
Gratitude Helps Reduce Toxic Mindset Patterns
This probably sounds familiar to you.
One bad thing happens to you, then suddenly 20 more bad things happen to you. It seems to create this avalanche effect that you can’t seem to help.
But what if that happened simply because of your own toxic mindset?
You assume bad things will happen, then they do. This isn’t an accident or a coincidence.
With gratitude, no matter what is going on in your life, you find a way to be grateful. The more you focus on the good things, the better your life seems to get.
Expressing Gratitude Can Reduce Your Stress Levels
There is this amazing effect that occurs when you start expressing more gratitude. The stress you have in your life begins to diminish.
It isn’t going to magically disappear, but suddenly what you were worried about doesn’t seem as important.
The big things you thought were “the worst” no longer ruin your days, because you understand how many good things happen to you.
After I started practicing gratitude more often, I realized one day that nothing ‘bad’ had happened to me in weeks! I had switched my thinking from assuming bad things would always be there to discovering that they wouldn’t.
Makes You a More Forgiving and Empathetic Person
As you start focusing on your gratitude, you get some other behavioral benefits as well.
It starts becoming easier to forgive people for something they might have done or said that hurt your feelings, and you become a much more empathetic person.
You understand people’s struggles a little better as you see the joy in your own life.
You become a more well-rounded person who is grateful for everything, the good and the bad. #amazing
Gratitude Allows You to Appreciate Your Life, Even Through Hard Times
Lastly, you start to appreciate your life more, regardless of the day you are having.
You become so accustomed to showing gratitude for every little thing, that when you get a flat tire or you have a hard day at work, you can still focus on the good things and these stressful situations aren’t so bad after all.
So-called negative events just roll off of you.
The beauty of gratitude is that your mind opens up to your life as a whole, and how balanced it is, not just dwelling on what you believe is a flaw in your life.
Different Ways to Express Gratitude
Do you want to start a gratitude practice, but you’re not too sure about where to start? Not to worry – there are a few different options that will make it a simple routine you add to your day.
Before too long, you will do it automatically without even having to think about it.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Naturally, our first tip is going to be to have a journal you write your gratitude in.
Pick up an inexpensive journal that you would enjoy using, and just start writing down a list of what you are grateful for each day.
This also happens to be a great time to start journaling if it is not something you do already.
You might find that in the beginning, you only write a short list of a few things you are grateful for, and that is fine.
Then over time you may start elaborating and explaining why you are grateful for these things. Also fine 🙂
Write Gratitude in Your Main Journal
Are you already an avid journal writer?
Great! Use that journal for your gratitude.
In fact, it can help you get into a positive mindset if you start every journal entry with 3 things you are grateful for, before you start writing your other thoughts.
You can keep it simple, so you don’t feel like your journaling routine is suddenly an hour long. It should only take a few extra minutes to add gratitude, and provides so many amazing benefits.
I like to write out what I am grateful for as 5 positive affirmations to get my day started.
For example, I start my day writing “I am so happy and grateful for my amazing day”, even though it is 7:30 am and the day has barely started.
And then if I feel the need to do journaling I just go for it. Your journal = your rules.
Be Grateful Throughout the Day
Find moments in your life when you feel the most grateful, not just when you are sitting down to write in your gratitude journal.
Say it out loud or just silently to yourself.
When you get into your car in the morning, be grateful it started without any issues.
If you managed to avoid traffic on the way to work, be grateful for that!
There are so many amazing moments in the day that bring you blessings, especially the simple ones people often take for granted.
Start a Gratitude Jar
Another fun way to start a gratitude practice is to use a gratitude jar.
Instead of using a journal, you would get post-its or small pieces of paper, write something you are grateful for, and fold it up before placing it in a big jar. This is also an easy way to involve everyone in the family.
Make a nightly routine where everyone writes down something they are grateful for, then puts it in the jar.
How to Keep a Gratitude Journal
One of the best ways to have a daily gratitude practice is to write your gratitude in a journal. This can be a journal used only for gratitude, or in another journal or planner you use every day.
If you’re a beginner, here are some super easy tips that will help you get started with your gratitude journal.
Designate a Journal to Gratitude Only
While you can use a journal you have for other things, your intentions can sometimes get a little jumbled.
This is why we recommend getting a journal or notebook used only for your gratitude.
At least in the beginning, so your focus is only on thinking about what made you happy or brought you a sense of calm, and writing it down. Over time, you might find that you can add this to your daily journal.
What helped me get started on my gratitude/journaling journey was this book by Rhonda Byrne of The Secret movie.
It is a handy journal with prompts and if you write in it every day for 30 days you will have created a helpful habit for success thinking. And it doesn’t hurt that it is a nice looking journal!
Always Keep it Positive and Uplifting
Remember that you are not journaling your feelings or writing down what happened to you during the day.
This is only for gratitude, so you want to keep it positive, optimistic, and uplifting.
Any time a negative thought pops in your head during this process, push it out of the way with something good that happened to you.
Maybe you are bummed because your invoice is being paid late, but instead of focusing on that, you think about how this morning your kids helped make breakfast. That is a wonderful thing to think about and show gratitude for.
Write 5-10 Things You Are Grateful for Each Day
The simplest way to start is just to make a list of what you are grateful for.
Think of any moment during the day that made you happy, gave you a sense of relief, or that was a positive surprise. This can be something small or something big, a nice gesture from a stranger, or kind words from a co-worker.
A simple pleasure you enjoy every day, or a big surprise you weren’t expecting.
Set no Limits or Rules
As with other forms of journaling, there shouldn’t be any rules, limits, or guidelines for writing gratitude.
You don’t need to worry about how long you write for, using proper spelling and grammar, or how you structure your gratitude. This should be kept secret, so nobody will ever read it but you.
Write in it Every Day
The only “rule” you need with a gratitude journal is try to write in it every day, even if that just means repeating the same 3 things you wrote in it the day before.
With more practice, you will likely be able to think about your gratitude throughout the day so by the time you write it down, you already have it on your mind.
How Often to Write in a Gratitude Journal
Once you have figured out how to keep a gratitude journal and what to write about, you will then want to decide how much time to dedicate to it.
While we strongly recommend doing this every day, there are some other things to consider as well.
What is Your Purpose for Starting a Gratitude Practice?
Before you can figure out how often you want to write gratitude for your practice, you need to really think about why you want to do this in the first place. Your personal inspiration and motivation for gratitude might determine how often you want to write down what you are grateful for.
If you want all the benefits of gratitude, like having a more positive mindset and relieving stress, then daily writing is probably best for you.
However, other people just want a few moments to be positive about something, so for them, a couple days a week might be more beneficial.
How Often do You Like to Write in a Journal?
If you are already someone that writes in your journal once a day, then adding gratitude to this routine daily is going to be easy for you.
On the other hand, if you know that you only remember to use it a few times a week, that is probably where you should start with your gratitude.
There are no rules here, so you can always increase or decrease how often you write down your gratitude list depending on how you are feeling, what you have time for, and what is going on in your life.
By leaving it open, you take the stress off of it, and it just becomes something you enjoy doing.
Daily is Best, But Any Time is Helpful
For the simplest answer, try to express gratitude every day if you can.
Even if that means only writing down one good thing that happened to you that day. You might be having not the best day, where it seems like everything is against you.
But you have at least one good thing from that day, and probably many good things. Think of every moment you felt even an ounce of happiness or relief, and write it down.
Tips for Writing Daily Gratitude
If you get to the point where you are struggling to write your gratitude every day, here are some quick tips that can help:
- Think of your daily routine and how you enjoy it.
- Write down any meal or beverage you love to have every day.
- Did you get a compliment or nice gesture from someone else? Write that down!
- Think of a moment that made you smile.
Tips for Writing Gratitude Thoughts
Deciding to add a gratitude practice to your life is the most important step. But once you have set your intention, you then need to actually start writing it.
- Where to start?
- How often should you write?
- What do you write in your journal?
That is what we are going to go through next.
Find a Journal You Love
While you can write gratitude in anything you want, using a notebook or journal that is specifically for your gratitude practice is highly recommended.
The reason why we put a lot of emphasis on what you write in is because when you find something you absolutely adore, you are much more likely to write in it.
Think about a time you found the perfect pen. One you love to write with. I bet you used it more often and found reasons to write stuff down, just so you could use it, right?
The same goes for your gratitude journal.
Start Small and Simple
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself from the very first day.
It is great to want to write 5 pages or 15 items about what you are grateful for every day, but that is not a realistic place to start. As with anything new you add to your routine, you want to take it slow.
Maybe you write down 3 things you are grateful for, and it is just a brief list, not explaining anything or emphasizing why they brought you joy.
That’s okay! That’s all you really need to do in the beginning.
Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Your Gratitude
You do not have to come up with something brand new to be grateful for every day!
In fact, most days, you will repeat at least a few things on your list. Every single day, you might find a lot of joy and gratitude in your morning routine, or maybe you got a new car recently, so your daily commute to work brings you some peace.
It’s okay to write these things down every day.
Add New Things as They Come Up
With that being said, when you feel gratitude for something new, add it to your list, and explore it a little bit.
Maybe you just discovered how grateful you are for a particular friend, and hadn’t thought much about it before. This is a great time to be detailed in WHY you are so grateful for them.
Gratitude with the Law of Attraction
If you have ever looked into the law of attraction and how to manifest things into your life, you are probably aware that gratitude is a big part of it.
Gratitude can help increase your vibration and positive energy, which helps tremendously with the law of attraction. Here are some ways you can use gratitude with your law of attraction practice.
Use Gratitude in Your Scripting
The first way to use gratitude with the law of attraction is with scripting.
As you know, scripting is the process of writing what you want to manifest into your life, in present tense. You write it down as if it has already happened, focusing on how it makes you feel to increase your vibrations.
This provides the perfect opportunity to add gratitude to your scripting practice. You will write how grateful you are to the universe for bringing you what you desired as you are scripting.
Keep Thanking the Universe Every Chance You Get
This is less of writing in a journal, and more of saying it to yourself or even out loud.
You are thanking the universe every time something good happened or you get a positive feeling.
When you are pouring your cup of coffee, when someone does something nice for you, if the sun is shining, really any time you get a positive emotion, thank the universe for it and show gratitude.
I use the concept in this video from Brad Yates. It is based on the Ho’oponopono meditation. I used to tap this out while sitting at red lights on my way to work, and it made my days better. Really!
Outwardly Show Appreciation in Your Life
In addition to thanking the universe, you can also increase your vibrations by thanking other people.
Show appreciation for people when they do something nice, when you feel gratitude for their friendship, after a social gathering.
Keep showing your gratitude in an outwardly way, whether it is giving an extra tip to the delivery person, or just telling someone you really enjoyed your time together when you went to lunch.
Keep Feeling Grateful for Every Blessing
When you start showing gratitude in this way, it will become automatic and natural.
It becomes a habit where every time you feel that spark of joy or appreciation, you say gratitude to yourself, out loud, or you write it down in your gratitude journal.
This can never be done too much; the more you do it, the more positive you feel, which further helps you to raise your vibrations and help the universe guide you to exactly what you want to attract.
I use affirmations a lot for my gratitude journaling. I find that the repetition helps and it is not a bad thing to write out the same affirmation, or two, multiple times.
We learned negative thinking and unhelpful behaviors by doing them repetitively.
It will take the same kind of work to change our thinking back to that of a young child who always sees the good in situations.
As well, I check in with my intuition throughout the day watching for opportunities to offer kindness to others.
A smile, saying thank you, and offering to help go a long way in improving mood.
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Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!