The Practice of Gratitude

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thank youOne of my favorite things about Thanksgiving, besides the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and apple pie of course, is all the talk about being grateful. It’s a natural conversation that arises around the holidays. You’re sitting around a table with family and friends, hopefully eating a delicious meal. Who wouldn’t be grateful.

What you may not know though, is that the practice of gratitude has been shown to increase happiness. When you are grateful for what you have, it makes it harder to focus on the things you don’t have. People who express their gratitude are also more optimistic, have stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure, are more likely to exercise and take care of themselves, they act with more generosity and compassion, and generally have lower levels of aggression.

Being grateful isn’t something that is just dropped on your doorstep though. It is by no means hard to achieve, however you do need to work on it. I read somewhere that gratitude is like a muscle and it needs to be exercised to keep it functioning properly. What you have to do is actually quite simple, I promise. Below are 3 steps you can do regularly to help your gratitude practice.

1. Write down what you are grateful for

I bought a journal that I use solely for this reason. I aim to write down 3 things a day that I’m grateful for. I usually do it at night right before I go to sleep. I’ve read that doing this once a week is actually the most beneficial. But it works better for me to do it more often. Figure out what works for you. Being consistent is the key.

2. Say thank you

I know this sounds silly. Of course we know to say thank. But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. I certainly appreciate it when someone says thank you to me. It’s important to show gratitude to those around you who help make your day-to-day life that much better. It’s easy to take those closest to us for granted, so remember to include them too.

3. Practice focusing on the present moment

With mindfulness you pull yourself back into the present moment. Instead of thinking about things that already happened or could happen, you pay attention to all the little things around you. Then think about what, in that moment, you can be grateful for. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Maybe it’s the fact that you are at the beach, or with a good friend, whatever may make you smile.

We want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and express our gratitude to each and every one of you. Thank you so much for your support. We are loving building The Pilates Fix community and can’t wait to see what the future brings us!

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