How to do it

Try to think of one thing you are grateful for right now, in this moment. It can be anything.

For example a cup of tea, a message from a friend, hearing a favourite song on the radio, finding a seat or a parking space, flowers growing in a garden, clean running water.

Notice when you think or say “thank you” and genuinely mean it. Notice what is working well in your life.

Some people have a formal gratitude practice, for example writing down three things they are grateful for each day. For some it may be prayer. Other people may have a physical prompt like a pebble or a conker, which, each time they find or notice it, reminds them to think of something they are grateful for.

 

Why it works

Our brains tend to seek out more of what we give our attention to so, if we encourage it to look for things to be grateful for, it will become more effective at finding things to be grateful for.

Research studies have proven than developing a regular gratitude practice rewires the brain and increases the production of the neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin) that make us feel good. Regular gratitude practice can reduce blood pressure, depression and chronic pain, improve resilience, increase energy levels and increase feelings of happiness and contentment.

Our brains don’t care about the magnitude of the thing we are grateful for, because it’s the noticing that matters.

Over time we can train our brains to have a more positive outlook. This is not about pretending something is great when it really isn’t. Practicing gratitude is about looking for the positives even in those difficult situations.

 

Additional resources

 

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