This guest blog post has been written by Tanya Marwaha, Tanya founded Championing Young Minds, you can find out more about them here.
- the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Gratitude is something everyone has heard of, but have you heard of the benefits that practicing gratitude can bring you? Initially, I held the assumption that integrating gratitude into my daily life, whilst chaotically trying to handle university work, socialising, my mental health and everything else, would be overwhelming, and potentially a ‘waste of time’. However, after researching more into the ways i can practice gratitude, I soon realised it is so simple to incorporate it into the mundane tasks that I do and in the spare 5 minutes i have in between my busy day.
Why should you try to practice gratitude?
If you search this question into google you will find thousands of articles listing the immense benefits of gratitude, for your relationships, physical health, mental wellbeing, sleep quality and more. Instead of paraphrasing these I will link some informative resources below, all with scientific studies to support their arguments.
“For me, practicing gratitude has not only allowed me to feel happier with myself and all the great things in my life, but also has helped me connect deeper with others and nature.”
Quick ways you can start to practice gratitude
Before getting into some of the simple ways which helped me the most, I would like to point out that there are hundreds of easy ways you can build gratitude into your life; you can find a lot of these online or even try a new way which you feel would suit you and your lifestyle the most.
- Keep a gratitude journal or tracker
Personally I did not feel that I could commit to tracking my gratitude daily, so instead I decided to make a list of all the things in my life I feel grateful for. I stuck this list on my wall above my desk, a place I knew I would see it daily and throughout the day. When something great happened then i also added it to my list, and before i knew it was growing.
This is a really quick way to remind yourself of the things you are thankful for, when working at your desk you can glance towards your list to keep you going!
- Try to do an act of kindness each day
By no means does this mean you need to go out of your way to do something, this can be as simple as holding the door open for someone or smiling at others. The power and fulfilment you feel from completing a random act of kindness is definitely one which I underestimated. You could try this today! Maybe tell your friend or family that they look great today, tell someone they are doing a good job, all of these things can put a smile on someone’s face which is an unexplainable feeling.
- Acknowledge and reward your own efforts
Often we feel we are not doing enough, not being productive, not doing a good enough job, but do you take the time to appreciate yourself for all the great things you do everyday?
This is something I struggled with, it felt a bit stupid to tell myself I am proud of myself for only doing an hour of studying when I should have done more. However, since I have started doing this I have noticed a big increase in my motivation and contentment with myself. No one can tell you how much is enough and worth being proud of by yourself, and by being grateful for yourself and the amazing job you are doing can be a big push in achieving your goals.
- Focus on your breathing and the nature around you
Perhaps when you go for a walk or step outside for a few minutes, you can take the opportunity to appreciate the nature around you. One thing that i enjoy is to tap into my senses, what can i see, what can i hear, what can i feel, all of these will allow you to connect with the environment around you and see the beauty in it.
You can focus on your breathing, when inhaling and exhaling listen to your body. When you take a few minutes to focus on your body, you start to appreciate the incredible ways in which our bodies work which we should all be thankful for.
- Challenge yourself to pick out a positive in all situations
Without a doubt this is difficult, because in some situations it does just feel like nothing is going right or to be happy about. One of the most helpful things for me has been to adjust the way I view the challenges and obstacles in life.
This might sound like not a simple way to practice gratitude, but by just taking a few minutes to pick out something you can appreciate in what feels like a completely negative situation, can help you not just learn from it but also let go of it. For me, when I make mistakes instead of getting too caught up in what I did wrong, what I should have done and beating myself up over it, I began to challenge myself to value the lesson I am able to learn from this experience.
These are only a handful of ways through which you can integrate gratitude in your daily life. I am aware that especially during this pandemic, it feels extremely difficult to focus on any positives and feel thankful, however these simple acts can help you overcome that feeling. Below are some useful resources to help you understand and implement gratitude into your life, and some amazing apps that can make this even easier for you!
Apps (all available on both Android and Apple)
- 365 Gratitude
- Live Happy
- Day One Journal
- The Zone