Lockdown has given me the opportunity to test out some mindfulness techniques. However, taking a moment each day to consider what I’m grateful for has been the most effective.
For many of us the word ‘grateful’ is associated with childhood memories of being told ‘be grateful’ or being forced to write a dozen thank you cards after receiving birthday gifts. It’s introduced to many of us as a forced concept, without the opportunity to really consider its meaning or appreciate its affects.
You may have seen a few of my recent posts celebrating things or people I feel grateful for that week. They’re often small, simple things that could easily be over looked, however, when I recall these simple things at the end of the day I’m able to fully appreciate the positive effect they’ve had. Rather than going to bed focusing on what needs to be done tomorrow, I find myself reflecting on all the positives from my day – it’s been a revelation of sorts.
I’ve been reading up on why my ‘grateful list’ has improved my overall wellbeing, I thought I’d share with you some of the benefits.
Research has shown that gratitude helps to calm the whole body, allowing us to successfully deal with stress. Stress is something many of us experience in the workplace, but taking time out to be grateful can actually help to lower physical and psychological stress within the mind and body.
According to a study in 2009, gratitude can help increase the depth and length of your sleep. Of course, a good night’s sleep has many benefits in itself, including improving your cognitive function throughout your day.
Regularly practicing gratitude through lists and journaling has been shown to increase your happiness and well-being long term. Even taking the time out to focus on gratitude once a week can have lasting effects on your happiness.
Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to everyone, however those who practice gratitude regularly, are shown to be more emphatic, caring and understanding of others.
I really recommend trying this activity for a week and see if it works for you. Keep a small notebook by your bed and write a few things down each night that you’re grateful for. It could be that cup of tea you had in the sunshine, or a nice piece of music you listened too. My advice is to not over think this, just sees what comes to mind naturally – it might just surprise you.
- Peter Roper.