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The importance of gratitude

Hello and welcome back to the Self Love Blog. I want to talk about the importance of gratitude and why we should all make it an essential daily habit and part of our routine. 

I have noticed the impact of gratitude in my life typically when I have gotten out of the habit of practicing it. It’s much like once you get sick and you suddenly start to appreciate your health more and regret all the times you opted for fast food instead of a healthy nutritious meal. That is always when I remind myself that my gratitude practice has been slipping and it's something that you can alter right away. So without further ado - let's dive into today's topic. 

Gratitude holds such power for all of us and it can be so simple to express. Have you ever watched someone not say thank you to the person holding the door open for them and the person holding the door says loudly “You’re welcome” in a sarcastic tone? But in the same example, when someone does say thank you - the person holding the door usually looks quite happy with the expression of gratitude. 

This is a good example to notice how impactful gratitude can be or in this case - saying thank you. Notice how saying thank you has an impact on the world around us. This is important because when we practice gratitude, we are shifting our focus from what we lack to what we have, ultimately leading to a deeper sense of self-love.

Although the above example is talking about saying thank you - gratitude is really way deeper than that. As mentioned above, when we practice gratitude - we are focusing on what we do have and feeling grateful and appreciative of it. Going deeper than the thank you - it is actually a mindset. A  way of seeing the world with appreciation and acknowledging the blessings in our lives - especially the small moments of joy, the acts of kindness, and the beauty that surrounds us. These are particularly good things to note because the more we look out for the good things in life, the more we will notice the good things in life. When we embrace gratitude, we open ourselves up to a world of abundance and positivity.

I link gratitude to self-love as when we spend time thinking about our bodies and all the ways they serve us instead of picking them apart - it allows us to shift our focus from self-criticism to self-acceptance. Instead of being unkind to ourselves, full of self criticism, we are actually acknowledging and appreciating our strength and achievements. If we couple what we are grateful for about ourselves with the love and support we receive from others, we start to build a foundation of self-worth. Gratitude reminds us that we are deserving of love and happiness.

Fun fact! Research has shown that practicing gratitude has numerous benefits for our mental and emotional well-being. It reduces stress, improves sleep quality, and enhances overall happiness. When we regularly express gratitude, we train our minds to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, leading to a more optimistic outlook and increased resilience.

So what is the best way to cultivate a Gratitude Practice? 

Incorporating gratitude into our daily lives doesn't have to be complicated. Here are a few simple practices to get started:

- Gratitude Journal: Set aside a few minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for. Reflect on the positive experiences, people, or things that brought you joy. I always think it is important to say why you are grateful. I know it is easy to say “I am grateful for my family member - but get clear on why that is. What joy or ease do they bring to your life that you really appreciate? 

- Gratitude Meditation: Find a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on the things you are grateful for. Visualise the feelings of gratitude filling your heart and radiating throughout your body. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this by yourself, you can always find one on YouTube. Just search “10 minute gratitude meditation” and loads will come up. 

One valuable lesson I have learned is that the best time to practise gratitude is when I am having a tough time.This might sound like I have gone crazy but I promise I have not! When we face adversity, it can be difficult to find things to be grateful for. However, even in the darkest moments, there are silver linings and if you can train yourself to look for these then you really will be reaping the benefits of gratitude. By shifting your perspective and focusing on the lessons learned, the strength gained, or the support received, we can find gratitude even in the midst of hardship. In all honesty - this is the one I find the hardest to remember to do. But when I do - it is an absolute game changer for the situation. 

If you have any further tips for practicing gratitude then I would love to read them below so please comment with anything helpful. 

See you next time, bye x

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