With so much information on the internet and self help books its so hard to find out exactly what you can do to bring you that little bit closer to happiness and ultimate fulfillment.
But one thing I bet you stumble across regularly is “Gratitude Exercises” and for a great reason. Now this is not just because I love them and say that everyone should be doing them! But also because there is so much research backing the benefits.
So… if you have never done them before, or if you have dipped your toe in but never really taken the plunge…
Then today is your lucky day because I’m going to share with you my
3 FAVOURITE GRATITUDE EXERCISES!
First off all… why do gratitude exercises????
Well you might have heard about something called ‘neurological pathways’. These are what transmit the signals throughout our brain. Basically, if you can imagine our brains are like a road map and the neurological pathways are the streets. What we don’t do very often create the small suburban streets and what we do and think often become the main streets, like highways. Creating our go-to thoughts, the easy route with less effort and thinking.
My favourite explanation on how our regular thought patterns create these ‘go-to highways’ was from a mindfulness facilitator. She described it like our brains are constantly on ‘auto correct or auto predict’ just like our phones. The more we use certain words the more the phone can predict what we are about to write…like when you try to type duck and your phone corrects to something else…(come on, your phone knows you never talk about ducks ;))
So the more we think certain words or thoughts the more our brain will auto predict and go straight to those words and thoughts.
Basically your brain is just like any other muscle… if you regularly think negatively your brain will get really good at thinking negatively and vice versa.
Also, the research suggests that those who practice gratitude often can experience huge benefits. Such as Improvement in physiological health, increase immune system, enhanced self-esteem, increased mental strengths, reduced symptoms of depression, increase sleep time and quality and the list goes on!
Have I talked you into giving it a go yet?
So…. How do we do it?
There are so many ways to bring gratitude into your life…
BUT HERE ARE MY 3 FAVOURITE.
This is probably the easiest and most popular gratitude exercise.
You write in your journal 3-5 things you are grateful for. This can be as simple as a dot pointed list or you can go into a little summary of each one. The benefits of this exercise allow you to zone in on all the great things that have happened to you over the past day or week. The research behind the amount of journaling you should do has some mixed results. Some have suggested at the end of each day, some say once a week. But basically its whatever works for you. Have a look at the purpose you want it to serve. If you start to dread doing it then clearly you need to back off a little bit.
Just make sure you sincerely focus on what you are actually grateful for. Try to focus on people in your life rather than objects.
Oh and one more thing.
When you are journaling it’s not intended for anyone else’s eyes. It can be messy, the grammar can suck and who cares about the spelling. As long as it makes sense to you, that’s all that matters.
2) Gratitude Jar
This is an awesome way to write down what you are grateful for and it can have amazing results in increasing your general well being and outlook on life. Plus, if you’re the creative type you are going to love creating your very own gratitude jar.
So first of all you need to find your jar, box or even a little bag. Then decorate it to make it your own. Think ribbons, stickers, paint, glitter… whatever you have to make that jar beautiful.
Then everyday think of at least 3 things you are grateful for. Write them on a piece of paper and pop it in your jar. Now these can be something as simple as ‘I’m so grateful I have some comfy as slippers on this freezing morning’ or as deep as ‘I’m so grateful that I have a loving boyfriend/husband or beautiful child.’ This will get you thinking positively about your day. The plus side of this exercise is whenever you are having an extra shitty day, get out a few of your gratitude notes and read them. As they’re such a great reminder of the good you have in your life.
Last but not least…
3) Gratitude Rock
Now this is a goody! The reason I like this one is because it incorporates a mindful moment with gratitude…bringing you out of your head and into the present moment, and lets face it, everyone can do with some more mindfulness in their lives!
So what you need to find is something as simple as a little rock or stone or another little object that means something to you. Make sure it is something you like and easy enough to carry around with you! You can carry it in your pocket, on a necklace or even your bra if you must. Just take it with you!!
Every time you look at it or touch it, you must think of something that you are grateful for in that moment. It can be for the yummy chocolate bar… I mean…. piece of fruit you’re eating, the sun shining on your face or even the smell of rain. It just has to be something in that moment (woohoo mindful moment- if your not to sure about mindfulness don’t worry, that’s my next blog)
At the end of each day when you put that object down think of all the things you were grateful for throughout the day. Then in morning when you pick it back up again to take with you, think again about all the awesome things you were grateful for the day before.
This will get that brain muscle training so hard that those highways in your brain couldn’t be anything but positive.
So there you have it, may 3 fave gratitude exercises.
And if you are lucky enough to have ever worked with me I would of made you do at least one of these.
So what are you waiting for?
Pick the one that stands out for you and give it a whirl…. what have you got to lose?
Only those negative thought patterns right???
Change doesn’t happen by chance!
If you keep doing what you have always done, your going to get what you’ve always got!!!!
If find you are struggling with your gratitude exercises but really want to give them a go contact me I would love to help.