Holiday Survival Guide:

Tips on How To Harness an Attitude of Gratitude

There may not be a more appropriate time to audit your gratitude practices than Thanksgiving. Spending time with family and friends, eating amazing meals, and getting a little R&R from work make it easier than normal to let the stresses of regular life subside, and focus on the good things. That, and gratitude is kind of baked into the name of the holiday…

Gratitude shouldn’t be something that you leave for one week a year. Like most other things, practicing being thankful will keep it top of mind all year long. The benefits of expressing gratitude are numerous, ranging from feeling at peace, to living a longer life, but perhaps more relatable is it’s benefits towards combating stress. Next time you feel stressed, try to replace it with a thought about something you are grateful for. You will probably find the stress ease before it has a chance to take hold.

A person holding their arms in the air in gratitude

The goal of practicing gratitude is to make it a default state. The real benefits of practicing gratitude occur in real life, when stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions start to manifest. So with that in mind, and in the spirit of the season, we wanted to collect our top 5 tools for practicing gratitude each day.

 

1. Bookend your day with gratitude

Think of one thing you are grateful for immediately upon waking, and again just before sleeping. Gratitude should be the first and last emotion you feel each day. This may seem simple, and it is, but it is highly effective. Sometimes the most effective tools are the simplest because they are so easy to incorporate and stay consistent with.

 

2. Gratitude Journal

Writing your thoughts can make it seem more real, and forces you to think through it on a slightly deeper level. The journal can be as simple as writing down one thing you are grateful for each day. For big results, try coming up with three things you are grateful for, and try to make them different than anything you wrote during the previous 7 days. You will find that you can be grateful for almost anything; your pen, your cup of coffee, or even your sense of smell. This will really nudge you into a zone where you can find gratitude in even the smallest things.

A hand writing in a journal

3. Replace Complaints with Gratitude


Complaints come from a place of lack. “I currently don’t have enough, and I want more.” Try to pay attention to each time you casually throw a complaint around – you may be surprised by the frequency. Now, instead, try flipping that complaint on its head. Gratitude comes from a place of enough. “I have enough, and I am thankful.” Here’s an example of a complaint I caught myself saying today, and what I turned it into: “I wish the weather was warmer” became “I am thankful I am in a warm house, and don’t have to be cold”. This technique can be credited to Gretchin Rubin, happiness expert and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Happiness Project”.

4. Exercise


In the short term, exercising releases endorphins which cause you to feel good. In the longer term, exercising gives you a sense of accomplishment, better health, and an improved self-esteem. It is pretty easy to feel grateful when you also feel amazing.

A woman relaxing in a tub

5. Meditation


A core concept of meditation is present awareness training. Dissatisfaction either happens by remembering the past, or by projecting the future. In the present, there is nothing to compare to, and therefore there really is no reason to not be grateful for absolutely everything. Meditation can be daunting, but luckily there are many great apps, including Headspace, that make it incredibly easy to  incorporate into a busy schedule.  


Incorporating even one of these practices into your daily routine will have noticeable benefits. For a little extra gratitude boost, try combining these practices with your STUNN AM + PM.

Written by the STUNN Collective team.

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