It’s a new year and the perfect time to start a new habit…. how does being more grateful sound for a New Year’s Resolution? Being grateful is about more than just having good manners. We are expected to show gratitude when someone gives us a gift, a compliment, or does us a favor, but having gratitude for every day aspects of our life is important too. Studies have shown that those who give and receive gratitude report better sleep, get more exercise, and complain of less physical ailments. Gratitude also helps improve our bond with others and is an important part of initiating and maintaining successful long-term relationships. Research has shown that gracious people are more sensitive towards others. They are also less likely to retaliate against others, even when they act negatively towards them; and they suffer from toxic emotions, like regret and envy, less often. Practicing gratitude daily increases your mental strength and makes you more resilient, even when times get tough. While it’s easy to say you are going to start being more grateful, it’s also easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life and forget to make it a daily habit. In order to hold myself accountable to being more grateful, I decided to start keeping a gratitude journal and writing in it every morning when I wake up. Studies show that writing things down helps us release our emotions more effectively and we are more likely to remember the information. In order to help make daily gratitude a habit, set aside a certain time of the day to journal for 10-15 minutes. This could be first thing in the morning, before bed, on your lunch break, or any other time during the day that works for you. If you have trouble remembering to give yourself this time, try setting an alarm on your phone or create an “appointment” for yourself in your planner. Designate a specific notebook to write your thoughts down in, so it’s easy to look back on and review whenever you want. There are many gratitude journals available with prompts to get your started, but any plain notebook will work too. I won’t lie… at first it was tough to remember to write in my journal and it felt more like a chore since it was ONE MORE thing on my to-do list, but since making it a part of my daily routine, I have noticed a big improvement in my over all mood and definitely plan to keep up this habit! Don’t wait to start practicing gratitude… remember that even in the worst moments, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for… what are you most thankful for today?
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