Daily gratitude is an important booster
….Which is why we all need to do more of it
Why daily gratitude is important
When we express gratitude and receive the same, it kick-starts a chemical chain reaction in our brains to release dopamine and serotonin. These are the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions. They are mood enhancers, which immediately make us feel ‘good’. We are living in a time when global angst is at an all time high, so it’s important to explore ways we can manage our emotions in times of stress. Finding ways to express daily gratitude is one way to do that.
When we show gratitude to a person, they usually feel thankful and great. They share that emotion with you by expressing their appreciation of you. So now you feel appreciated. If this is done in front of others, they are also part of that positive experience and so now they feel good too. It’s an all round win/win. This is why social media is so addictive. When dozens of people like “our” posts we get an instant dopamine hit!
Benefits of gratitude
Research from brain specialists suggests that showing gratitude improves our physical and mental health and increases our energy levels. It reduces toxic emotions, including envy, frustration, resentment and regret. Another leading researcher on gratitude Dr Robert Emmons, suggests that gratitude increases happiness and decreases depression. Gratitude improves our sleeping patterns and helps reduce trauma. When we are grateful, we are able to appreciate both our own achievements as well as those of others. This contributes to reduce feelings of envy and social distancing. It enables us to “swim in our own lane” without constantly being reminded of what other people have and are doing and being aware of what we might lack.
5 Questions to help you practice daily gratitude
Practising gratitude takes time to create new daily habits. I was relatively new to this habit of consciously expressing gratitude, so like you I had to start at the beginning. During confinement I made a conscious commitment to practising daily gratitude. It might require a few baby steps and if you are like me, you may see a couple of false starts. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to start your own practice of expressing daily gratitude. You could buy a little pocket size notebook or even use the notes section on your phone. It doesn’t matter if you prefer old school or digital, the important element is to reflect on your day and write those reflections down.
Some of you who follow me on Twitter (@DorothyDalton) may have seen I’m posting pictures of night skies. This is because I am so grateful it’s not raining. This was one of my daily gratitude habits.
These questions are suggestions that helped me. You may prefer others.
1. Who helped me today?
Think about how you benefited from a relationship or connection. Was it a partner, a client or one of your children who showed consideration or kindness. Maybe someone on social media, a neighbour or even a delivery person. Whoever it was, make a note and show your appreciation to them if you can. I just gave my postman a 10 star rating with Bpost! Sometimes in can be a message from a friend or family member which is enough to make a difference.
A friend recommended a dance video by Master KG – it’s great – just do it. I was really grateful for that!
2. What challenges did I face today?
In lock down this is getting increasingly hard. It might even have been the basic process of getting dressed and cleaning the kitchen. Maybe the challenge was meeting a deadline under difficult conditions, with the kids running amok. Perhaps someone on your team made a thoughtless remark and you had to control your reactions. No matter how small it was, it was your challenge.
Remember that everyone has something. Most people will tell you they don’t feel themselves today.
3. What inspired me today and why?
We all get inspiration from somewhere. A colleague, a news story, a blog or an item we have seen on social media. Maybe it was even a neighbour or family member. I see a very elderly gentleman going for a walk every day at 09.10 am. Each day he passes under my window at exactly the same time. His steps are not strong, but without fail he does that, whatever the weather. I’m very lucky to have that as my daily inspiration and anything else after that is a bonus for me.
4. What made me laugh today?
It might have been a funny Tweet or a posting on social media. Tell them! It could have been seeing a member of your family on a remote platform do something amusing. Maybe it was on television. You could even have been laughing at yourself, if you did something silly. I laughed at this today. I know desperate!
Apparently the King of Spain has been quarantined on his private jet
This means the Reign in Spain stays mainly on the plane….
— Ian Howes #FollowBackProEuropean #Sodem AKA Mack (@ianhowes1970) August 2, 2020
5. What do I have to look forward to tomorrow?
Think about what you are going to be doing tomorrow. Maybe it’s just because it’s going to be a warm day and you can read in the sun. Perhaps you will take a walk, receive a delivery or call someone you know. Think of something to look forward to every day. And be thankful.
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