Simple ways to practice daily gratitude

It may be the season for giving thanks, but with everyday anxiety at a peak it can be easy to lose sight of how to feel grateful. When you’re able to step back from daily stress and obligations, it becomes clear that gratitude not only allows you to appreciate what you have, it helps you to be fully present and in the moment.

According to an article published in NPR, “Studies have found that giving thanks and counting blessings can help people sleep better, lower stress and improve interpersonal relationships.”

Luckily, it only takes a few minutes a day to integrate a gratitude practice into your life. When the word blessed starts feeling more like a hashtag and less like a mindset, it’s time to take a step back and reset. We’ve rounded up a few simple ways to integrate gratitude into your daily life.

1. Journal

Journaling is a powerful tool for reflecting. Getting your thoughts on paper can help you focus and identify the things in your life that bring you joy. A journal is a unique reflection of you, so there’s no right way to do it! You may find that stream of consciousness or free writing brings things to the surface you didn’t expect, or you may be the kind of person who loves making a satisfying list. Either way, journaling gives you a record of where you are now and where you’ve been, so you can be thankful for the lessons you’ve learned on your particular journey. 

2. Meditate

Your brain is busy all day, checking off mental to-do lists, making plans, figuring out what to have for dinner and everything in between. Slowing down to meditate can help calm an overactive mind, allowing you to reflect on what you’re grateful for. With gratitude at the front of your mind, you’re empowered to manifest more blessings into your life. A study published in the journal “Brain, Behavior, and Immunity” actually found that meditation can lower stress and inflammation, which also helps you focus on the big picture when life gets overwhelming. We recommend booking The Healer massage to support your  daily meditation practice, calm your mind and reduce stress.

3. Practice mindfulness

Being mindful during the day can help give you perspective on what you have. For example, if you’re sitting down to a quick lunch at your desk, take a moment to consider what you’re eating and be thankful to have access to healthy food. Mindfulness also a good way to connect with your body. Take some time to do a mental full body scan and some simple breathwork. Pause on what feels good and what is feeling tight: breathe gratitude into those feelings, and make a mental note of where you need some work. To stay connected with your body throughout the day, keep your favorite soothing oils and lotions nearby.  We formulate our Nourish Classic Body Oil with rosehip and reishi to give you a regenerative boost wherever you need it.

4. Reach out

We all get caught up in our lives and tend to forget what matters. Take a moment during the day to text or call a friend or loved one and let them know you’re thankful to have them in your  life. It’s easy to reach out when we need something or to make a plan, but don’t underestimate the power of a simple message of gratitude for no reason at all. Setting a reminder on your smartphone is a great way to start making those gratitude messages into a routine. Missing simpler times? Sonja Lyubomirsky, a Psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, has published research that supports writing “gratitude letters” can help lift your spirits and positively affect your mental health.

5. Give back

One of the most important manifestations of gratitude is to “pay it forward.” There are lots of ways to make a difference, from volunteer work and donations, to writing letters to your representatives. Spending an hour or two on the weekend giving back makes life more abundant for us all. At The NOW, our mission is to support and inspire through massage. We know that those who most deserve some time to recharge don’t always get to take it, so we partnered with WeSPARK to contribute to a cause that is close to our hearts. Based in Los Angeles, WeSPARK provides services to ease both the emotional and physical effects of cancer treatment for patients and their loved ones—a cause we’re passionate about, NOW & Always. Supporting a non-profit you feel connected to can be a powerful way to shift your mindset.

Taking time from your busy life to focus on gratitude can sound like another commitment, but the rewarding feeling you’ll get from something as simple as spending a few minutes with a gratitude journal will keep you feeling centered, thankful and in the “NOW”.