In the last episode of A Life Designed I made a case for why we should practice gratitude and how it can help us feel more at peace — even in difficult times.
In this episode, I’m going to share with you the incredible benefits of practicing gratitude, then I’ll lead you through a short gratitude meditation, and teach you several more ways you can practice gratitude.
I hope you’ll tune in!
If you would like more inspiration, download my Ultimate Guide to Guilt-Free Self-Care HERE!
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Welcome to A Life Designed.
My name is Tina Haisman. I teach busy moms how to get everything done and still have time and energy for themselves and their families. My passion is for helping women create more heart-to-heart connection with their husband and children so they can feel deeply fulfilled in those most important relationships.
The topic of today’s podcast is Ideas to Create a Gratitude Practice
But before we get started I want to let you know I have a FREE private group on Facebook where you can come to get inspiration for your life. It’s called A Life Designed. I hope you’ll join us!
Also, I have created a free download call the Ultimate Guide to Guilt-Free Self-Care. It’s a Guide to help you take care of yourself in mind, body and spirit so you can feel like your best self every day. Visit my website tinahaisman.com to download it.
Now let’s Dive IN and Ideas to Create a Gratitude Practice
On the last episode of the podcast I made a case for why you should practice gratitude, so if you haven’t heard that yet, I hope you’ll go back and listen!
Now, in this episode, we’re going to talk about the benefits of gratitude, then we’ll participate in a short gratitude meditation, then we’ll talk about ideas for a gratitude practice and I’ll even provide you with some of the research to back it up.
Research proves that a gratitude practice has many benefits:
The benefits of gratitude:
Here’s the research to back it up.
In one study, two psychologists gathered three groups of participants. All participants were asked to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week.
A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them.
And the third wrote about events that had affected them with no emphasis on them being positive or negative.
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives.
Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Now that’s just one study – there more, but I don’t want to bog you down in too much science tonight.
So, let’s move on and talk about how you can get some of these benefits by practicing gratitude.
The 5 ways are:
I am going to unpack all of these tools for you.
And we are going to start with a beautiful gratitude meditation.
There are different ways to practice meditation. You can focus on scripture. You can recite a verse. You can recite a rosary.
And you can also place yourself in a state of gratitude, which is what we are going to do.
Close your eyes.
Start to connect to your own body and breath.
Take a deep breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
In through the nose and out through the mouth.
One last time, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Invite the Holy Spirit to be with you. Feel His presence. Feel the love.
You can place your hands on your heart if you like.
Think about God and how grateful you are for him right now. For all of the blessings he has given you.
Really feel that gratitude and love in your heart.
Sit with this gratitude for a moment. Just feel it.
Breathe and relax.
When you are ready, you can flutter your eyes open.
This gratitude meditation is available to you at any time. Any time you are feeling stressed or worried. Just slow down invite the Holy Spirit in and drop into gratitude.
One of the key ingredients of that meditation is the actually feeling of the gratitude and love. So make sure to connect with that.
Now that you’re feeling nice and relaxed, I know you are going to be grateful to hear the four ideas I have for you.
James 1:17 says Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Prayer is the perfect way to thank God for all your good and perfect gifts, and even those that don’t seem quite perfect at the moment.
When we take the time to intentionally think about all of the blessings God is giving us, and all of the prayers he has answered.
We are going to notice more of the blessings, because what you focus on grows.
I’ve heard from prayer experts that we should share our prayers of gratitude before our prayers for intercession or ourselves.
So consider thanking God for all of your blessings before asking for any new ones!
Try to find at least 3 new and unique things to thank God for every day.
Our third tip is going to help you take your verbal prayers one step further. Up leveling them.
3. Gratitude Journaling
While you’re taking the time to share your blessings with God, why not write them down.
Taking the time to write down your blessings is scientifically proven to help you feel happier and more grateful.
I’d like to share a specific gratitude journaling technique from the field of positive psychology.
The technique is called the 3 Blessings Exercise. It was created by Psychologist Martin Seligman. It is scientifically proven to increase happiness.
The idea is to write down 3 blessings that happen every day and WHY they were blessings.
When Dr. Seligman studied this exercise. He first measured the happiness of the participants. Then had them do the exercise every day for a week. Then he measured their happiness again at the end of the week.
After just one week, the participants reported feeling happier.
That’s not all. The researchers followed up with the study participants, and checked their happiness levels over time. And found they continued to get happier by the week. Even up until six months later.
And what is even more amazing is that even after stopping the exercise, these people remained happier.
This is believed to be because they trained their brain to get better and better at looking for the positive things in their life.
Also, what I love about this is that you can go back through time and see all of the blessings you have had and all of the prayers God has answered.
Speaking of writing them down. Our next gratitude method is
4. To write a thank-you note to another person expressing your appreciation of that person's impact on your life.
Call to mind someone who did something for you that you are extremely grateful for …. But maybe you have never expressed your gratitude to them.
This could be a relative, friend, teacher, or colleague
In your letter, describe in specific terms what this person did, why you are grateful, and how their behavior affected your life.
It doesn’t have to be long. Keep it to a page or less.
Then, meet that person and read your letter. And savor their response.
Dr. Seligman and his colleagues found this gratitude practice has a significant, lasting impact on the happiness of both the giver and the receiver, with benefits lasting about a month.
I highly recommend you give it a try!
5. Pay it Forward
For many people, the key to having more gratitude is giving back to others.
It’s easy in life to get wrapped up in our own personal dramas and to-do lists and forget about the needs of the outside world.
But when we take a step outside of ourselves and do something to help others, we see our place in the bigger picture of life. And it makes us feel grateful.
Your efforts don’t have to be heroic. They can be so simple.
You could buy a cup of coffee for someone.
Give a friend a listening ear.
Give a stranger a compliment.
Reach out to someone who is lonely.
Any kind gesture will do! Even a smile!
Volunteering fills up your gratitude tank. So get out there and pay it forward! You’ll not only increase your gratitude, but your sense of joy, connection and community.
So those are the tools I have to share with you.
Pay it Forward
I would ask each of you to consider picking one of them and turning it into a practice.
And do it intentionally. See if it increases your joy and happiness and energy. See if it helps you cope with difficult situations. And be more positive.
If you’re struggling with feeling grateful right now with everything going on, reach out to me for a complimentary gratitude coaching call. We can take a look at where you are, where you want to be and what is holding you back.
Remember! I have created the Ultimate Guide to Guilt-Free Self-Care to help you feel like your best self every day. You will find it on my website.
Don’t forget to join the Life Designed Community on Facebook!
Thank you! See you next week!