Coach and Head Program Designer at Achieve Fitness
Life is busy. As in, “leave the house before sunrise, meetings all day, bad traffic, get home after sunset, make dinner, go to bed, and do it all again tomorrow,” kind of busy. And all this busy-ness can be really stressful. But, in all that chaos one of the most grounding and relaxing things you can possibly do is stop, even for just an instant, and find something, anything, to be grateful for.
Gratitude really can be one of the most centering and grounding things you can do. Taking a moment to focus on an experience, person, or instant of the present day that you are thankful for brings your brain into a better space in two ways. First and foremost, regardless of what kind of mood you had been experiencing prior, a grateful moment can provide a positive boost that can turn the emotional moment in the right direction. Secondly, by finding an aspect of the present day, you bring your focus back to the current timeframe instead of fixating on a project or presentation at work next week, a conversation from yesterday, or any other thoughts that take away from the present.
While there are no bad ways to practice gratitude, there are some tricks I’ve found that make the experience that much more powerful. First, it helps to write down whatever it is that you are most grateful for. These things can range from your morning cup of coffee to a deep connection to a loved one to a beautiful sunset or just making great time on the drive back home. Again, no wrong way to be grateful, but writing it down creates a more mindful connection to the thought and experiences through taking the time to jot down the thing that you’re expressing gratitude for.
Secondly, if you can communicate your gratitude to someone whom you are grateful for this can make that experience that much more impactful. While this can sometimes perhaps be a little awkward initially, it is a great way to experience gratitude, as well as spread that positive energy. A quick text, phone call, or conversation can go a long way!
Thirdly, being consistent with your gratitude, be it journaling, expressing your gratefulness to others, or even getting into a routine of thinking your gratitude at a specific time or location (i.e. while brushing your teeth before bed) can go a long way. Practicing the habit of finding good, positive things in each day reframes the way you think and focus, and shifts the brain into a stronger mindset. While each day may not always be good, there is something good in each day.