There’s no denying it, times are tough and a little confusing right now. Being in lockdown, working from home and living in a constant state of the unknown can wreak havoc on your mental health, motivation and energy.
Currently, one in five Australians report high or very high levels of psychological distress linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, (Australian Bureau of Statistics) emphasising the imperative need to prioritise mental health.
Practicing gratitude has the power to shift our perspective and transform how we see ourselves and our lives. Being grateful is a practise, like being mindful or learning how to meditate. It’s a mindset that we can cultivate through deliberate effort. And when we do the work, over time the benefits start to show up in our lives.
Here are five activities you can do to practice gratitude.
1. Keep a gratitude journal
The way you use your gratitude journal is up to you, but we recommend writing down three things you are grateful for each night before bed or to make it even easier, check in on Calm, with the Gratitude Check-in tool. Building a routine of gratitude into your evenings is a great way to wind down, reflect on your day, and generate positive emotions. This shift in perspective is an excellent way to calm a busy mind before drifting off to dreamland. Calm’s Daily Gratitude Journal is another good way to get started.
2. Try mediation!
Developing a meditation habit can often go hand-in-hand with practicing gratitude. It can be hard but like any habit, it’s all about routine! You can start with a simple mindfulness technique of identifying five things you can see, touch or smell, or bringing something or someone to mind that sparks joy in your life. If you’d like to take your gratitude practise to the next level, Tamara Levitt, Head of Mindfulness at Calm, has created a masterclass series on practicing gratitude. The five part series, exclusively available on Calm will guide you through tools, insights, and inspiration to cultivate this life-changing practise.
3. Gratitude Countdown
Next time you notice yourself caught up in negativity or stress, challenge yourself to a Gratitude Countdown and list ten things you’re grateful for on the spot. To make your countdown most effective, we recommend being specific. Share not only what you’re grateful for, but how and why. By being specific, we’re recalling a distinct memory or setting an actual scene in our mind’s eye, which naturally evokes an authentic feeling of gratitude.
4. Breath of thanks
It’s important to remind ourselves to pause. We often miss out on the small gifts in our lives because we’re so distracted or busy rushing from one task to the next, one video call to the next. It’s useful to remember that practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be a regimented procedure.
Two or three times a day, slow down, stop and bring attention to your breath. For every five to eight exhalations, say the words, “thank you” silently to yourself. We recommend you practice this around three times a week to start feeling the results.
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