How to Achieve the Miraculous Benefits of Gratitude

Lose Weight, and be grateful? Or vice versa?
Gratitude each day, keeps the doctor away?
I am committing daily to the practice of appreciation, for the small and the huge moments of awe and wonder of the season, and all that entails. But wait, what?  It actually is making me healthier?  OK, now I'm interested - let's dig into what our University medical research brain trusts are finding in their ivory tower laboratories!

Some of the health benefits of Gratitude revealed include (*sources at bottom of post):

  • an increase in fitness and weight loss
  • getting more sleep at night
  • feeling more rested in morning
  • boosted immune system
  • lowering risk of heart attacks
  • an increase in kindness
  • better grades for teens/students
  • decrease in depression, stress, worry (including in teens /students)
  • an increase in connectedness w/ others, including our romantic partners
  • and overall, fewer health problems

Ummmmm.....are you kidding?  Where is the catch?  Is this a pyramid scheme!?  No monthly payment plan?  All we have to do is be THANKFUL each day.  How do we start???

Here are some basics to get us going:

1.  Start a gratitude journal.
     Jotting down 3-5 things at the beginning or end of the day. I love this one if you need some prodding - The Simple Abundance of Gratitude Journal. Description from Amazon: "This beautiful companion journal to the national bestseller Simple Abundance provides women with a place to record their daily moments of gratitude while offering them insight via inspirational quotes."

2.  Use visual reminders! 
     Stick post it notes of your blessings on mirrors, steering wheel, fridge, etc.

3.  Find a Gratitude partner. 
    Just like a work out buddy, a gratitude partner will keep us " showing up".  So look for someone who is grateful, & hang out more with them.

4.  Light a Candle - real or virtual.
     A meaningful and fun thing to do that I found on gratefulness.org, is a link to light a Gratitude candle.  How fun is that?!  You can type in a message/thought, etc and sign it.  Or leave it blank. Either way, it provides a moment and a visual for reflection and gratitude, with candles lit by people around the world. Let's take the gratitude plunge!

Here are some free Gratitude Apps to get us going:

Gratitude Meditation App:
Apple Description: "The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge: A more tranquil heart and a settled mind are yours with this simple process. Ten minutes in a quiet, comfortable spot with my Gratitude Meditation and you will be on your way to genuine thanksgiving."

The Gratitude Habit App:
Apple Description: "Tried 'Tap Happy with Gigi'? It's gratitude + happiness in a game. Gigi's first game is now available! The #1 Gratitude App on iOS" Customer Review: "Simple but Powerful. The app totally seems goofy at first. Little cartoon guy leading you each day cheerfully with stories and lessons. But the lessons are extremely easy to do. I've done gratitude journals and lists forever and this app made it make sense for what I've been missing--it's an approach or mindset that he suggests that makes this different from other gratitude apps or tools. Just listen for each of the three days and try what he suggests and I'm sure you'll see at least a little more "positive and upbeat" going on in your home."

Thankful App:
Apple Description: "If you’re thankful and you know it, tap your screen!" Customer Review: "Simple, Easy, Affective. I love how easy this is. Reminders are consistent without being annoying. It has a great effect on my overall mood just to take a few seconds each day to appreciate something or someone. I also love the quotes for the same reason. Great app. I recommend for anyone."

Getting the whole family in a grateful state of mind:

Another great idea for family to incorporate gratitude into Thanksgiving is this Gratitude Jar DIY Hack; check out my full post here for the tutorial (it's super easy, I promise!)

Another fun way to incorporate gratitude into your kids this year, is have them do this fun and easy Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt from the blog Let's Get Together. They even provide a link to download this template so you can print it out at home for your own kids to do. What a great idea for little ones to do after Thanksgiving meal when they are restless and board! 

Sources for list of benefits of gratitude:

Piglet Quote Image Source via Etsy // Gratitude Pumpkin Image Quote source here // Give Thanks Print via artist Katie Daisy // Leaf Tile Image Source via here

What are your favorite ways to be thankful, for yourself and/or your family? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page