We know it’s THE time to be thankful (and we also know how beneficial it is for our mind-body health). But if you’re feeling more “grump” than gratitude these days, don’t be too hard on yourself. For starters, 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. Secondly, your capacity for gratitude is probably more innate than you realize. Neuroscience research indicates that some people have an easier time feeling grateful than others, so if gratitude isn’t your strong suit, it’s probably not your fault. But just because you weren’t born with it doesn’t mean you can’t have it! Research also indicates that gratitude is like a muscle — you can build it up with proper exercises!
Are you interested in flexing your gratitude muscle and bidding farewell to your inner Oscar? Here are a few easy tools, all backed by clinical research, of course.
Faking until you make it.
Have you heard about the research on smiling and its psychological and physiological effects? When you smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling, it helps you feel better. In simple terms, your smile tells your brain that it’s time to feel happy. The same sort of effect happens when you practice acts of gratitude, like thanking people for their work or being kind and patient. When you act gratefully, you are encouraging your mind to feel grateful.
Put it on paper.
Any time you feel a thought of gratitude, jot it down. It could be on a scrap piece of paper, any old notepad will do. The point is to put your gratitude in writing. Researchers have studied gratitude journaling and its positive mind-body effects. But we think gratitude journaling sounds a bit intimidating, so we’re encouraging you to simply jot down your gratitude list anywhere as it occurs to you. The gist of writing down your gratitude is that you’re thinking about gratitude more, and basically training your brain to be more mindful of gratitude. As they say, the more you do something, the easier it is to do; practice makes perfect! So if you’re thinking about gratitude more, you’ll get better at it!
Self-care, of course.
Last, but certainly not least: treating yourself to your favorite skin, body and wellness treatments is essential when you’re not feeling your best. It’s important all the time, really. But it’s hard to feel gratitude when you’re completely exhausted. Be vigilant about refueling yourself, so to speak, by getting enough sleep and rest and treating yourself to services that bring you joy and peace. After all, you deserve it!