Published on November 20, 2017

3 Tips for Practicing Gratitude

As you prepare to sit down to the Thanksgiving dinner table this week, take a break from the prepping and cooking to slow down, take a breath and reflect upon what you are truly grateful for. Like physical fitness, practicing gratitude takes commitment, dedication and effort. Start with these three tips.

Take three to five deep breaths at least three times per day. Being grateful starts with being mindful. While mindfulness and deep breathing might feel like buzz words, they have amazing health benefits. When you take time to focus on lengthy inhales and exhales, your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems work together to regulate your body's natural stress response. Deep breathing can slow your respiratory rate and alleviate anxiey. That makes it easier for you to stay present and take stock of what's good in your life.

Take five to 10 minutes to reflect. Set aside a few moments to think about what you appreciate in life. If it's a challenge to pinpoint specific examples, consider daily gifts. These are everyday things that you would normally take for granted, like watching nature through your back window, a good friend you can count on and even your morning cup of coffee.

Write it all down. From apps to wearables, fitness trackers help us see how far we've come with our physical goals. Likewise, tracking gratitude can help us gauge our progress. By writing down things you're grateful for, you hold yourself accountable. Plus, it could become a fun log to reference and reflect on someday.