Gratitude researchers Emmons and McCullough (2003) found that a simple gratitude practice resulted in increased happiness, optimism and satisfaction with life, and decreased negative affect and physical illness. They also found that people with a regular gratitude practice slept more and had a better quality of sleep each night. How cool is that?!
Many gratitude researchers ask their participants to keep a short gratitude diary each day, simply noting down what they're grateful for.
But this isn't the only way to cultivate gratitude.
I regularly take gratitude photographs for Capturing Gratitude and share them on Instagram and Facebook, and I weave gratitude gently into my day in other ways as well.
Today I thought I'd share with you 10 other ways to cultivate gratitude:
- On waking in the morning, say thank you for another day of simply being alive (put a note next to your bed if you need a reminder).
- Each night before you sleep, list 10 things you’re grateful for from the day (count them off on your fingers).
- Before each meal, say a quiet thank you to everyone who contributed to the food on your table (this might include the cook, the store, the farmers, mother earth etc).
- If you have children, create a bed time rhythm that includes taking it turns to finish the sentence ‘I’m grateful for ……’.
- Write down something you're grateful for each day and put it in a gratitude jar (and pull one out whenever you're feeling down).
- Look for the silver lining. If you’re going through a challenging time, find one thing about the situation to be grateful for.
- Remember that there are millions of people around the world who do not have access to clean drinking water. Drink a glass and be grateful.
- Write down 100 things you’re grateful for (go, I dare you!).
- Dedicate a bench in your back yard or community as a Gratitude Bench, and go and sit there regularly and contemplate all that you're grateful for.
- Create a Gratitude Tree by writing down what you're grateful for on a small piece of cardboard and hang it in a designated tree. Invite your friends and community to do the same.
And if you'd like to try the option of a gratitude bench or tree and you're near Byron Bay (Australia), The Farm and I are hosting a picnic at midday on Sunday 19th June at the Gratitude Bench, and we're creating a Gratitude Tree for our community. All are welcome! BYO picnic (or get something at the cafe). Details and RSVP is here.
Hope to see you there and do leave a comment below and let me know which gratitude practice you're going to test drive in your life.