Want more peace and less stress?
Try writing in a gratitude journal.
The physical act of writing is a powerful way to train your mind to focus on the goodness in everything. Even problems.
Developing a habit of writing in a gratitude journal is an effective way to retrain your mind, promote positive feelings of peace, and reduce your stress level. Ongoing research shows people who practice gratitude are healthier, more optimistic and satisfied with their overall lives. So, if you want to cultivate grateful thinking and a peaceful heart, begin and end each day with gratitude. You don’t need a fancy journal. Just getting started with a notebook or a blank journal.
How to Cultivate Grateful Thinking and a Peaceful Heart
- Establish a morning ritual with the intention of gratitude by choosing to acknowledge the goodness in your life. Before you hit the ground running make time to nurture the feelings of gratitude. Tune into your heart and deliberately acknowledge what you are thankful for. Each morning write down at least 3-5 things you are thankful for and the reasons you are thankful for them. You can start with the smallest acknowledgment and expand out to every dimension of life. For example, you could be thankful for your family, your health, a sunny day, a friend, a special moment, the sunset, the sound of birds singing, or your favorite football team winning. Find gratitude in anything — big or small. What’s most important is that you consistently take time to notice simple pleasures in life that you take for granted and ordinary moments that bring you joy and write them down.
- Establish an evening ritual with the intention of gratitude by choosing to acknowledge everything that went well that day. Before you go to bed take time to appreciate what went well that day. It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking about everything you didn’t accomplish and what went wrong. Instead of dwelling on what didn’t go well, each night make a list of the good things that happened. Give yourself permission to let go of the things left undone and accept your day as it is. Going to bed thinking about your problems and everything left undone reinforces stress and contributes to difficulty falling asleep. When you take time to think and write about everything that went well you retrain your brain to notice positive experiences. Consider small milestones and ordinary moments that made your heart smile. What made you laugh? What are you proud of? How did you make progress? What was the best part of your day?
Gratitude is a choice. We have to intentionally choose to practice it. It’s not a cure-all to our stressors, but it is an effective way to develop a habit of grateful thinking and the feeling of a grateful heart and shifts our focus from what our life lacks to the goodness that is already here. It is through the practice of gratitude that we begin to appreciate simple pleasures that we once took for granted and discover happiness, peace, and contentment in our hearts – and in our lives.
One day you’ll wake up and suddenly gratitude will be a habit. You’ll feel more peaceful and optimistic and less stressed.
Choose to be grateful, it feels better.
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Wishing you a heart of gratitude,
Integrative Coach | Yoga Teacher | Movement Education
I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below. What are you thankful for today?