Why You Need To Practice Daily Gratitude For A Healthier Brain
“Look on the bright side!” and “Be grateful for what you have” certainly are not helpful responses when we’re experiencing pain of any kind, but practicing Daily Gratitude has some pretty incredible benefits. Not only psychologically, but physically as well!
A lot of my resistance in practicing gratitude over the years has stemmed from the misconception (or, misperception) that embracing this practice somehow invalidated by experienced, trauma and pain and my inclination is to say this is because of how it’s generally presented to us- as some simple way to “get over” our struggles.
However, Daily Gratitude, similar to mindfulness practices of any kind- doesn’t intend to dismiss your feelings and experiences in exchange for thinking positively. Instead, it asks you to acknowledge little things in your life you can appreciate in addition to your current (and valid) feelings.
It’s very easy for us to focus in on the negative, and as it turns out, this may be in part due to evolution. Our brains pay close attention to what may pose danger because it perceives danger to be a threat to survival. Which makes sense, really. Our biology is most concerned with survival. It’s much more difficult to re-write those pathways, but it is possible to do!
Practicing Daily Gratitude and mindfulness is important to do consistently because the practice helps to build neural pathways in our brains so that the process becomes more of an automatic response, instead of something we have to do both consciously and intentionally.
As you continue with the practice, it becomes much easier to cultivate a feeling of contentment within your life, while helping to build your resilience.
Now that I practice Daily Gratitude, I’ve found that negative experiences- while still very unpleasant- don’t affect me nearly as much, and that is an empowering feeling!
And it’s impact is even farther reaching.
Think about the times people around you have expressed sincere gratitude to you. It feels so incredible and motivating.
Studies consistently show that employees who feel valued in the workplace show higher levels of morale, do better work, more efficiently, take less time off work due to illness and have higher retention rates.
I don’t know about you, but I am always far more invested in the relationships where I feel valued, and in which I value in return.
Ways To Practice
Many people are able to use a dedicated gratitude journal, while others incorporate gratitude into their regular notebook or journal.
These haven’t ever worked into my lifestyle as seamlessly as I needed them to: keeping a whole other notebook up-to-date simply isn’t feasible for me, though I need to be prompted in order to remember the practice.
Although our Self Care Daily Planner has space to record your Daily Gratitude, there are several months out of the year that I trade my planner in for “brain dumps” on notepads and scrap pieces of paper (hello, market season!).
Thus, I wanted to create a visible reminder to practice this simple habit in an approachable, gentle, playful and versatile manner...
So I created The Daily Gratitude Calendar & Map!
The Daily Gratitude // Self Care Calendar
It was important to me that we stick with our tradition of keeping our Planners open-dated so that they can be used at any time. I also wanted for this tool to be a larger piece that would inspire, motivate and empower you to make this a consistent part of your daily routine.
It might initially look small, at 4.5” x 6”, but unfold this illustrated map to an 18” x 12” double sided poster that you can post on your dorm room wall, at your office or workspace, or simply keep on your desk.
The ‘front’ side features 4 undated months worth of space in which you can record either your Daily Gratitude or a small Self Care goal for the day. As you continue to fill them in, watching your calendar grow is not only motivating, but incredible satisfying to see!
On the reverse, you’ll find some fascinating facts about Daily Gratitude and Positive Psychology, and my favourite tips and tricks for using this calendar to its fullest potential.
And now, I want to know: Do you practice Daily Gratitude? If no, do you share similar views that I had experienced before learning more about it? How do you practice gratitude each day, if so?