There has been a great deal written about the power of gratitude. Gratitude impacts our lives because it is a positive emotion. But did you know that it makes a difference how you express gratitude? That’s right. The dividends of gratitude are in the details! So here are a few easy exercises you can do each day to boost your mood, get better sleep and strengthen your relationships. Yes, gratitude does all of that and more.
Exercise 1: 2 minutes a day. Think of one thing you are grateful for right now. Next, bullet point each detail you can think of regarding that one thing. Here is an example. I am grateful for a husband who treats me as an equal—shares household tasks, work on spending and budgets together, takes turns parenting to support both of our careers and our children. Even though he makes way more money in his field, he never makes me feel less than for my career.
Exercise 2: Scan your environment. Find 3 new things you are grateful for each day. Find one thing that made you happy today. Use at least 2 words to say why. Find one thing someone else did for you today. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just something nice. Find one thing you did nice for someone today. Pick one and reflect on each of these. Write them down or tell someone. Now, do this for 21 days. Your mood will greatly improve because you are creating meaningful experiences in your brain. There is even research to support doing this will improve chronic fatigue and pain. People who continued this exercise for 6 months actually decreased their pain medications by 50%.
Exercise 3: Acts of kindness. For 2 minutes, begin your day by writing 2 positive emails or text messages praising something someone did or thanking them for something. At the end of each day, you will feel good.
Not only do grateful people have more positive emotions, they also experience more connection to God, especially if your gratefulness is directed towards Him as well. Basically, grateful boosts peace and contentment and focuses the brain on the good things that happen. but make sure you detail your experiences to get the most power out of gratitude.