Cultivating a weekly gratitude practice can do wonders for your health and wellbeing. Anyone can practice gratitude. It only takes a few minutes and doesn’t cost any money. Keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful way to say ‘thank you’ for all the good in your life. Each week I add to my monthly Gratitude Jar, in my Bullet Journal, with the things I’m grateful for. It’s a fun, easy, way to make gratitude a habit. Having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has seriously changed my life. Today I’m sharing my tips for practising gratitude, including a free printable version of my Bullet journal gratitude jar.
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
Why Practice Gratitude?
Studies have shown there are many physical, social and psychological benefits of gratitude. According to Greater Good Science Centre, these are some of the top research-based reasons for cultivating a regular gratitude practice:
- Gratitude increases happiness, life satisfaction and boosts feelings of optimism.
- Gratitude reduces anxiety and depression.
- Gratitude strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure and reduces symptoms of illness.
- Grateful people sleep better.
- Gratitude makes us more resilient.
- Gratitude strengthens relationships.
- Gratitude promotes forgiveness.
- Grateful people are more helpful, altruistic and compassionate.
- Gratitude makes for healthier, happier kids.
- Gratitude benefits schools, resulting in both happier students and teachers.
Count Your Blessings
In the book, The Magic, author Rhonda Byrne says, “When you’re grateful for the things you have, no matter how small they may be, you will see those things instantly increase. If you’re grateful for the money you have, however little, you will see your money magically grow. If you’re grateful for a relationship, even if it’s not perfect, you will see it miraculously get even better. If you’re grateful for the job you have, even if it’s not your dream job, things will begin to change so that you enjoy your job more, and all kinds of opportunities for your work will suddenly appear.”
This practice of counting your blessings, or feeling gratitude, is so simple yet so powerful in altering your life. How good you feel after your gratitude practice is a measure of how much gratitude you felt. The more gratitude you felt the happier you will feel, and the faster your life will change.
Starting Your Weekly Gratitude Practice
Are you truly grateful for the good in your life, or do you take it for granted? The key to cultivating gratitude is to stop, look around, and really appreciate the good in your life. See the things you normally take for granted and be thankful for them. Do this regularly, and after a while, gratitude will become a natural part of every day. If you’re struggling to see the good, focus on the little things: sunshine, flowers, birds singing, a cuddle from a loved one, a funny movie.
Cultivating a weekly gratitude practice will help you become happier, healthier and more optimistic. You will be the type of person who sees the cup as half full, looks on the bright side, and sees the good in others! The more you pay attention to, and appreciate, the good things in life, the more good there will be to see.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Research shows journaling is one of the most popular, and effective, ways to cultivate gratitude. Once or twice a week set aside a small amount of time for your gratitude practice. Make it a mindful practice by really focusing on the task at hand and avoiding distraction.
Spend a few moments reflecting on your week, thinking about all the good things that happened. Smile, relax and really feel the joy that these things brought to your week. Think about the reasons you are grateful for a particular thing, person or situation and you will experience gratitude even more deeply. Remember, they don’t have to be big. In fact, research suggests that it is when we give thanks for things we normally take for granted, that we truly experience the benefits of gratitude. Write down three to five things that you are grateful for, and include a few words, or a sentence, about each one. Head here for research-based tips on gratitude journaling.
A Free Printable Gratitude Jar for your Journal
At the beginning of every month, I draw a Gratitude Jar in my Bullet Journal. This ‘gratitude log’ has become one of my favourite monthly collections. The idea is to fill up the jar, with all the things I’m grateful for, throughout the month. I write the month at the top of the page and add a little colour to the jar.
Sometimes I write in my jar every day. More often I use the jar when I sit down for a focused, mindful, weekly gratitude practice. This is when I spend time really thinking about the little things I’m grateful for. I take my time to write down three short sentences. (If I fill up my jar before the end of the month I just draw another one!) Looking back over previous month’s jars, feeling the gratitude again, is a powerful exercise and a reminder of just how good life is! This is particularly useful when I need a little pick-me-up.
Click this link to get access to my Planner Lovers Resource Library and download your own gratitude jar. Print the PDF file at 100% onto A4 or Letter size paper. Cut out the jar and stick it straight into your bullet journal, use it as a template, or print on adhesive paper to make a sticker.
Have you started a weekly gratitude practice? What benefits do you notice? Let me know in the comments below!