Shaudi Adel, LCSW – Clinical Director at Centered Mind Therapy
As we continue to tread along during these cold, winter months in the city, I do find myself complaining about the cold and frigid winds outdoors, and sometimes even the overheated office I work in! The sad part of it all is that only 6 months ago, I was complaining about the most humid I’ve ever experienced and how I would basically do anything to feel the cool weather! As you can probably tell, I have let the mindless complaints flow and have forgotten to practice gratitude for the present moment and the positive experiences I am having now during the temporary winter season (before summer strikes again!) I think our perspective is so closely connected to our ability to regulate our emotions, and if we are carelessly not finding moments to count our blessings or find the positive in the situation, we are sure to fall into a pattern of seeking out the negative experiences at a high cost to our emotional and mental health. Here are some easy ways to develop an attitude of gratitude and experience all the well-researched benefits of adopting an attitude of gratitude!
- Keep a gratitude journal and commit to write down 3-5 things you are grateful for at the end of the day. This technique is an easy one to implement in your wind-down routine before bed. Keeping the list simple with only 3-5 items can be an easy way to make gratitude a daily habit.
- When you’re outside, find something you are grateful for with 1 or more of your senses. For example, take a look around and identify something you are grateful to see – for me, I will make it a point to walk through Bryant Park on my way home from work in the evenings – it’s a fun way for me to practice gratitude of the holiday season vibes!
- Complete a gratitude meditation at the start of your day. A gratitude meditation is just a technical term for taking a predetermined amount of time to reflect on the people and things in your life you are grateful for. You can pair it with some deep breaths with your eyes closed if you’d like. Also, a quick online search can connect you to multiple gratitude meditation scripts or, if you prefer, you can find audio files to play that will guide you through a script.
The research is clear – adopting an attitude of gratitude is good for improving your mental health, physical health, sleep, building self-esteem, lowering depression, enhancing resiliency from trauma – and the list goes on and on (Morin, 2015). Try to incorporate some gratitude into your day and allow yourself to experience the benefits of [literally] changing your brain through this simple behavior.
Morin, A. (2015, April 3). 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude