Happy World Gratitude Day! While it’s ideal to practice gratitude everyday, some days it just slips through the cracks. That’s why this holiday is the perfect reminder to take a step back and look at the things in our lives that we truly appreciate. With all the stressors of everyday life it can be easy to focus on the negative, but a simple shift in mindset can completely change our perspectives and our mood.
Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can increase happiness, lower stress and reduce depression symptoms. In fact, a study from the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA found that gratitude actually changes the molecular structure of the brain!
It’s important to note that many studies show that the benefits of a gratitude practice can take time. The longer and more often we practice gratitude, the stronger effect it will have on our brains and mood.
So what exactly does it mean to practice gratitude and how do we do it? It’s actually pretty easy! Here are 4 simple ways to actively be grateful:
Start a Gratitude Journal
While we could simply think about the things we’re grateful for, the act of writing it down cements it in our brain. This can be as simple as writing down 3 things you’re grateful for everyday.
Want to dive a little deeper than just a list? Look for gratitude journal prompts that will inspire a thoughtful brainstorm about what means the most to you.
And the best part? This gratitude practice pairs perfectly with your Bed of Nails products. Set your BON Mat and Pillow against your couch or a chair, relax and enjoy the process of journaling. Using your BON Mat will put your mind and body into a state of relaxation to help you further reap the benefits of this practice.
We recommend trying this practice at night. Not only can you reflect on the positive events on your day, but it may also help you sleep better. A study from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida found that people who write down a list of positive events at the close of their day reported lowered stress levels and a greater sense of calm at night.
Take a Mindfulness Walk
Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to just mean sitting at home. Going on a walk can be a more active way to be grateful. Leave your phone, headphones or any distractions at home and practice mindfulness during your walk by taking in the sights, smells, sounds and textures of the things around you. Practicing being in the moment can bring you an instant sense of calm.
While you walk, take note of anything around you that brings you joy. It could be as simple as appreciating a beautiful tree with leaves that are dancing in the wind, the way the sun breaks through the clouds or a sweet puppy going for a walk. Taking mental note of things you may not normally notice can elevate your mood instantly and bring about a new appreciation for what you already have in your surroundings.
Meditate on your Bed of Nails Mat
It’s no secret that the benefits of meditation include stress and anxiety reduction, increased focus and improved general wellbeing. Meditation can easily be incorporated in a gratitude practice to enhance the benefits of both. Simply lie or sit down on your Bed of Nails Mat and Pillow, close your eyes and connect with your breath and the present moment. We recommend laying on your mat for 15-20 minutes (or more!) to enjoy the full effect of the nails.
If meditating in silence sounds challenging, there are plenty of guided gratitude meditations to listen to online for free. Listening to a recording can help keep distracting thoughts at bay and help you focus on what you’re most grateful for.
Write a Letter to Someone You’re Grateful For
Gratitude doesn’t have to simply be a solo practice. In fact, the more we express gratitude for the people and things around us, the more contagious it becomes! For this exercise, simply think of someone who you are especially grateful for. It could be a friend, a family member, teacher or colleague. Write a letter detailing why they have such a positive impact on your life.
Of course, you don’t have to send the letter to your recipient. Simply writing down your appreciation is an act of practicing gratitude in itself. However, sending your letter (or communicating your appreciation via phone call or text) spreads positivity and will likely have a snowball effect that ripples waves of happiness.
Which gratitude practice will you be trying today?