Gratitude as a Daily Spiritual Self-Care Practice
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’m sure you’ve seen lots of posts and blogs about gratitude and the importance of it. And that’s because it’s all TRUE! Countless research studies have shown that a regular practice of gratitude increases joy, peace, love, contentment and overall happiness in our lives. It also reduces stress, anxiety, shame, comparison and overwhelm. I believe this is due to the Law of Attraction, which states that the type of thoughts, emotions and energy that we put out into the world – we attract more of it, and that impacts what we get back in life. In other words, what goes around comes around, and our thoughts and mood greatly impacts the results we get. Basically, our thoughts, emotions, and daily habits GREATLY impact us in more ways than we even realize.
Gratitude for Breakfast
For me personally, I strive to practice gratitude on a daily basis. When I wake up, I think of at least three to five things that I’m grateful for – with these three easy steps.
- Find a daily practice you already do to incorporate gratitude. Such as brushing your teeth, journaling, stretching, or meditating, and let this be the time you think of the things you’re grateful for. I try to think of 3-5 things, but this list can go up to 20 (or however many you want!) Don’t set a limit, but try to set a minimum. Even thinking of just one thing is good when you’re struggling to think of things.
- Don’t forget (or discount) the simple things, such as the air I breathe, my lungs for helping me breathe, my heart for beating, my legs for walking, my eyes for seeing, flowers blooming or leaves blowing in the wind.
- Let the gratitude sink in to your body. It’s not helpful if we just list the things and check our gratitude practice off our to-do list for the day. Let yourself actually FEEL it. Let it sink into your heart and notice how it feels. Do you feel peace? Love? Joy? What does it feel like? Do you feel warm and tingly? Breathe and let yourself enjoy it for a few minutes.
Gratitude for Dessert
It’s awesome possum to sandwich you day with gratitude, and also do something gratitude focused at the end of you day as well. Here are two awesome ways to incorporate this into your evening routine.
It may be overdoing it (can you overdo it on gratitude?!), but I ALSO love to end my day with gratitude with my partner. If you don’t have a sweetie, you can also do this with other relationships in your life. Turn to your partner before bed (or text or call a loved one) and tell them at least 1 thing you’re grateful for and appreciate about them / your relationship, etc. This can be something about them or your relationship in general, or something nice they did for you that day, that week, or at any point in your relationship together. And let them do the same thing for you (if they’re open to it).
This is an awesome practice for parents as well as step parents in blended families. It’s so easy to get caught up in negativity, criticism, or pointing out the things others did wrong, or get caught up in the ways they hurt or disappointed us. Let’s flip the script and reframe, because it’s SO much more important to focus on what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong. My fiance, Brad and I, do this at the end of the weekend after his kids go back to their moms. It’s a nice way to end our weekend and give each other positive reinforcement for the effort we put into our relationship with the kids, our behaviors, and the overall weekend.
Self-Love Ice Cream Sandwich
Another way to practice gratitude is to practice it with yourself! This is an amazing act of spiritual, emotional, and mental self-care, self-love, self-kindness, self-compassion, and self-validation – which are important life skills for adulting. You can say it out loud or in your mind. The script goes something like this….
“Hey, [insert name here]. I just wanted to say hi and that I love you, and I think you’re doing great. I know you’re doing the best you can, and that you keep trying, and that’s what matters most. I love you [or if that doesn’t feel good / authentic, you can say “I’m learning to love you” or “I’m starting to love you.”} And I am so grateful for you _________________.”
This can be something you did that day that entailed you taking care of yourself, going to bed on time, getting up in the morning, exercising, eating healthy, cooking for yourself, practicing a new habit, undoing an old habit, an accomplishment, checking things off your to-do list you’ve procrastinated on, productivity, getting errands ran, getting out of negativity, connecting to your spiritual practices, or whatever it is you’re grateful and proud of yourself for. OR it can be something about you and your relationship with yourself in general that you’re grateful for. OR your body or various body parts. BONUS POINTS if you do this while looking at yourself in the mirror. Mirror work is highly spiritual work, and is sooooo healing. I’ve been doing this on and off over the past year, and it’s helped my relationship with myself, including my self-love levels so much I can’t explain!
Now I would love to hear from you.
Do you have a regular gratitude practice? What does it look like? Or is gratitude something you struggle with? Let me know in the comments below and I look forward to connecting and going deeper with you. Sending much love, self-care, centering – and of course, gratitude!