Today, I'm sharing a different kind of post than I'm used to writing but I wanted to discuss it with you. Gratitude has been on my mind a lot lately. I think we all struggle with it; it's so easy to get complacent, or even worse, it can be difficult to find the good when things aren't going the way we want them to.

The benefits of practicing gratitude are endless, and there have been several studies that show that people who are aware of the things they're thankful for lead happier, more fulfilling lives. They're also kinder than those who don't, and God knows the world can benefit greatly from that.

I've kept a gratitude journal in the past, but I realized a flaw I was making - I was writing down the same vague, generic things week after week so I lost interest and the whole exercise lost its intended purpose. What's really helped bring me back into journaling again is to come up with specific things that I'm grateful for each day. An example: Instead of writing that I'm grateful for my husband, I write down what it is specifically I'm grateful for in that moment. So, "I had a horrible migraine yesterday, and I'm grateful that Nate went to the pharmacy to get my medication and some ice cream for me."

Aside from writing in a journal, there are a few other things I've discovered that have worked for me in practicing gratitude.

1. Take Regular Social Media Breaks:
This has made the biggest impact on me in terms of my overall well-being. I remember taking my longest social media break about a year ago after speaking with my friends. I had become consumed with scrolling on my phone and I was having a tough time concentrating on anything. Even at night when I couldn't sleep, I'd immediately retreat to my phone and would fixate on all the perfect lives I saw on Instagram. It was keeping me in a really bizarre head space, constantly in a state of comparison, so I took a much needed break and haven't looked back. I take daily and weekly breaks regularly now, and you know what? Everything is just fine! I look at it when I want to, but I put it away after 10 minutes and focus on something else I need to get done. Look, there's nothing wrong with using social media, as long as it doesn't start using you.

2. Connect With A Friend Over Coffee:
I always feel more grateful after connecting with a friend. Once a month, one of my girlfriends and I go to a different coffee shop around town to catch up, vent, and essentially cheer each other on. Every one seems so busy that it can be easy to drift apart from the people in your life. When I share something personal I'm going through, it helps me feel less alone. I find that as I get older, I actually need my friends more, not less. In-person conversation will always be more impactful than over the phone, so schedule a designated meeting date and time if you need to.

3. Practice Mindfulness:
This is something I've learned not only in my own personal therapy sessions, but I've also implemented this exercise  with clients. Mindfulness is all about being present. Quite literally, to have the mind fully aware of what's happening in the moment. If I'm feeling particularly anxious, I like to take a few minutes to go outside, sit on a chair or even on grass, close my eyes, put my hands on my lap, and breathe deeply. I begin by concentrating on how my body feels, what sounds I'm hearing around me, what scents I'm smelling if any, sometimes I'll roll my head in a circle, and then I focus on just being still and breathing. It takes some practice to fully let your thoughts dissipate but once you keep at it, it will become a huge source of relief. Living in the moment absolutely creates a sense of gratitude for just being alive in the world. 

4. Write It Down:
Not to be confused with a gratitude journal, I think it can be equally as cathartic to write down the things that are weighing you down. I usually have a good cry when something is bothering me. If the situation is out of my control or if I just need to vent and write down every curse word known in the English language, I do it. Then I tear the page up, throw it in the trash can, and MOVE ON.

5. Do Something You Really Enjoy:
 This can be anything from practicing yoga, to taking a pottery or painting class, or curling up on the couch with a good book. For me, I love the ocean so whenever I get the chance to take a drive to the coast and sit on the beach, I do. You can do your favorite activity with a friend or spouse, or do it alone. As long as it's something (and with someone) you truly enjoy. It's amazing how much good energy you'll feel afterward. It will recharge you.

I hope these suggestions will help you in your own journey. How do you practice gratitude?

Linking up with Pink Sole


  1. These are such great tips! And so practical too. I love your suggestions for mindfulness. I find that if things are hectic and I just go outside for a few minutes, it's a mini escape and has a really powerful effect.

  2. I am impressed that you are able to find something you are grateful for even if you are suffering with a migraine. I know I should try to journal more, but I'll I can say is that the pen and notebook are by my bed, and perhaps one of these days I will put them to use. Getting trapped in the social media comparison game is truly the worst. It's so hard to feel good about your life when it seems like it should be as perfect as it is on instagram, but it never will be.
    Chic on the Cheap


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