I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and well. Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere is right around the corner. How are you feeling about the change of seasons? Are you excited, or holding onto the summer months forever? For many, seasonal changes can affect their mental health, mood, outlook and overall wellbeing. Personally, I love the change of seasons, and I feel my best in Autumn. I view the change of seasons as a golden opportunity for rebirth and transformation. As the air gets crisper, pumpkin spice lattes appear, and a kaleidoscope of amber and crimson illuminate our trees. I feel it is the perfect time to focus on the glorious gift of gratitude. What better way to count our blessings, and give thanks than to practice gratitude daily? With so many challenges in our daily lives and larger world, now more than ever we need to shift our mind’s focus to the abundance that exists right here and now, don’t you agree?
With an appreciation for renewal in our hearts, I hope you will join me in participating in a 21-Day Gratitude Challenge. Let’s make a commitment, and together cultivate gratitude for the next three weeks. I bet you’ll be surprised at how life-altering the practice of gratitude can be!
The Benefits of Gratitude
I practice gratitude on a daily basis in the form of noticing in numerous moment throughout the day what I am thankful for, an ingrained practice that began 20+ years ago with first reading about, journaling about, and talking with others about the practice of gratitude.
Scientific evidence is well documented to support that consciously practicing gratitude will benefit you and your mood, so why not try it or resume or strengthen your existing practice? A shift in your perspective to focus on the positive rather than the negative, and to focus on what you have rather than what you do not have will dramatically create a positive paradigm shift in your life.
Positive Psychology compiled findings from multiple studies to highlight 28 benefits of practicing gratitude. You can read the full article, and review the fascinating finding by clicking on the link here.
The benefits are split into five key categories listed below:
EMOTIONAL benefits of practicing gratitude:
1. Make us happier
2. Increase psychological well-being
3. Enhance our positive emotions
4. Increase our self-esteem
5. Keep suicidal thoughts and attempts at bay
SOCIAL benefits of practicing gratitude:
6. Make people like us
7. Improve our romantic relationships
8. Improve our friendships
9. Increase social support
10. Strengthen family relationships in times of stress
PERSONALITY benefits of practicing gratitude:
11. Make us more optimistic
12. Increase our spiritualism
13. Make us more giving
14. Indicate reduced materialism
15. Enhance optimism
CAREER benefits of practicing gratitude:
16. Make us more effective managers
17. Reduce impatience and improve decision-making
18. Help us find meaning in our work
19. Contribute to reduced turnover
20. Improve work-related mental health and reduce stress
HEALTH benefits of practicing gratitude:
21. Reduce depressive symptoms
22. Reduce your blood pressure
23. Improve your sleep
24. Increase your frequency of exercise
25. Improve your overall physical health
26. Help people recover from substance misuse
27. Enhance recovery from coronary health events
28. Facilitate the recovery of people with depression
Now that you know all of the transformative benefits of gratitude, let’s begin the challenge. I am so excited to do this with you! There is no right or wrong way to practice gratitude. The key is to practice it daily and make it a priority. Give thanks to experiences, people, moments, simple pleasures in life: whatever it is that you are grateful for. Listed below are some ways in which you can practice gratitude during the next three weeks:
- Gratitude Meditation – This is one of my team’s favorite ten-minute meditations. My colleague Stacie likes to do it before she gets out of bed, and it starts her day off on a positive note. Click the link https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ2coj1fFec to try it.
- Gratitude Journal – This is such a simple yet effective way to practice gratitude. Start your morning off by writing down three to five things you are grateful for you. Notice how you start your day in such a happier manner.
- Gratitude Affirmations – Practice gratitude affirmations such as “I am grateful for this day”, or “I am grateful for my family”. These are simple sayings that can boost your mood and make you feel happier.
- Acts of love & kindness – Practice gratitude by engaging in acts of love and kindness. These do not need to be big gestures, they can be as simple as telling your family you love them, or telling a friend you appreciate them. I notice my team members light up when I express my gratitude for their diligence or attention to detail or graciousness expressed in an email to a client, and in return I too receive a surge of joy in seeing them light up.
- Smile – As William Arthur Ward once said, “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” Smiling helps release cortisol and endorphins thus boosting your mood. It is the easiest act we can do.
There are so many more ways in which you can practice gratitude. Switch it up each day during our challenge. I invite you to make the commitment to cultivate and embrace gratitude each day in your life and join me for this 21-day practice of gratitude.
I have been mindfully practicing gratitude for years. The positive benefits are truly extraordinary, and will change your life for the better. I would love to hear from if you are committed to start this challenge, and then again once you complete the challenge. Perhaps you put a reminder each morning on your calendar and again an hour before your bedtime to keep you focused and on track?
As you move through these 21 days, let me know: how do you feel? what supports you in continuing? Let me know if you notice a positive difference in your heart, mood and spirit. I hope you will continue past the 21-day mark, and turn the practice of gratitude into a daily habit that feeds your soul.
Sending love and light to you! Erin