By: Health Coach Ashleigh Magee, IML Healthy Lifestyle and Fitness Contributor
Chat about Gratitude and Ashleigh Magee Coaching
Happy almost Thanksgiving! With thanksgiving in the U.S. coming up, I want to talk a little bit about gratitude and feeling grateful. And here’s the thing, while we have a holiday to practice gratitude, I really want you to be feeling grateful every day, not just one day a year. Given that this has been a tough year for many, and you may be missing your families this holiday season, I think it is even more important to be mindful about practicing gratitude.
Why is Gratitude Important?
When we focus on our negative feelings, it amplifies them. We train our brain to look for things that are making us unhappy. That’s why gratitude is so important. It primes your brain for positivity. It also helps you choose your feelings. Fun fact, you can’t feel angry and grateful at the same time. I challenge you to try! Gratitude also can help you create closer, more intimate relationships. Lastly it can help you have less depression, anxiety and stress overall.
How Can You Start Practicing Gratitude?
First and foremost, it’s important to choose a gratitude practice that actually works for you. If you have a friend that swears by journaling, but that’s not something you enjoy doing, don’t feel pressured to start a gratitude journal! Look at these tips and decide how YOU want to practice gratitude in your life.
That being said, I typically recommend three approaches to gratitude for my clients:
1) Gratitude Journal
I recommend this option for those of you that enjoy journaling and do it on a regular basis. You may also benefit from journaling if you have a planner or a calendar that you’re writing in every day. Every day, write in your journal or on the top of your planner 1-3 things that you’re grateful for from that day. I recommend doing this first thing in the morning before you’re distracted with other responsibilities.
2) Pair with Daily Affirmations
I love daily affirmations for mindset, and they are perfect for pairing with gratitude. If you’re unfamiliar with daily affirmations, you can use these to boost confidence and retrain your brain to overcome limiting beliefs. I recommend writing five affirmations on a post-it note and putting it on your mirror. Every day, look yourself in the eye and say your affirmations to yourself. To add a gratitude practice, just write the word “gratitude” after your affirmations. When you’ve said your affirmations, you then have the reminder to also say something you’re grateful for.
3) Gratitude Sleep Meditations
There are a lot of gratitude sleep meditations that I absolutely love. These help you fall asleep, but the last things you’re thinking of as you nod off are things that you’re grateful for. As an added bonus, studies have shown that practicing gratitude at bedtime improves sleep by lowering anxiety. I personally use the app SleepSpace, but Calm and Headspace are both great resources as well.
What Kind of Things Should I be Grateful for?
This may sound like a silly question, but I have had clients struggle with choosing what to be grateful for. Your gratitude practice does not have to be huge celebrations and momentous occasions in your life. In fact, the goal of a gratitude practice is celebrating the small moments that make life beautiful. Maybe you’re grateful the sun is shining today, your kid made you a cute art project, or you finally got a big work presentation off your plate. Understand that nothing is too small or insignificant to feel gratitude towards.
If you want to become a more positive person that enjoys your daily life AND all of the health benefits that come with that, I HIGHLY recommend starting a gratitude practice. You can start by:
- Starting a Gratitude Journal
- Pairing Gratitude with Affirmations
- Trying Gratitude Sleep Meditations
Remember, gratitude is about appreciating the little things in life, as well as those big moments. You can also listen to my podcast episode for this training here.
If you’d like more support in your health and wellness journey, to include your mindset, I would love for you to check out my group coaching program! I help women in the military community lose weight and love their body without spending hours at the gym or in the kitchen. You can check out the details at ashleighmagee.com/coaching.
HAVE A HAPPY, HEALTHY THANKSGIVING!