People often ask how to begin to Carpe Diem, or "Seize the Day." For me, the answer is simple: practice gratitude everyday.
When you move in gratitude with the realization of what you have to be thankful for, you will start to notice a change in your life almost immediately.
In today’s over-sensationalized world focused on headlines and soundbites, it can be easy to get caught up in negative thinking while forgetting about all the good things in our lives.
Practicing gratitude everyday is an excellent way to improve your mental health and keep your spirits high no matter what life throws at you. It shifts your energy, allowing you to focus on the good in your life, family, and community.
Let's face it, neglecting your mental wellbeing can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, and other problems. Gratitude practice will help you cope with these issues and support your mental wellness.
“When you move in gratitude with the realization of what you have to be thankful for, you will start to notice a change in your life almost immediately.”
Showing Appreciation is the Best Way to Feel Happiness
So maybe you're still asking, "why is it important to practice gratitude?"
While many people think that happiness comes from getting what they want, the reality is, you will be more likely to feel happy if you learn to show appreciation for what you have.
Practicing gratitude allows you to shift your focus away from problems. Being appreciative can help you build better relationships, improve your health, and boost your mood.
None of us are immune to stress, but gratitude can help you to manage it. It can also be a reminder and source of strength during hard times.
Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can lower stress levels by as much as 10%. It can also boost your immune system, improve sleep, and decrease feelings of loneliness. Practicing gratitude can help you to stay positive and feel good when times are tough.
Practicing Gratitude Helps You Cope with Stressful Situations
Gratitude is a very effective coping strategy. When something difficult happens, it can help you to refocus your attention away from the negatives. It can also remind you that you have the strength to get past any challenge.
Practicing gratitude is a great way to shift your focus away from the negatives in life. It can be a helpful tool during times of stress.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, it can help to bring your attention back to the things in your life that make you thankful. It can also be a way for you to express your emotions without feeling like you are falling apart.
Expressing gratitude can help you to feel less stressed and more in control. It can be especially helpful if you have a friend or family member who is going through a challenging time and could use some support.
How to Practice Gratitude Everyday
So now that you know why it is important to practice gratitude, I want to share several effective ways to practice gratitude.
Fake it Til You Make it
If you're having a hard time getting started, it may be helpful to just go through the motions. Smile, be kind and courteous to others, say "thank you." Sometimes just performing these actions, can trigger a real emotion of gratitude.
Remember the Bad Moments
It's easier to be thankful for where you are in life when you have a clear memory of some of the darker times you've been through. This is not to say you want to dwell on your past struggles. But gratitude will naturally take root when you see that where you are in life, regardless of the current problems you may face, is so much further ahead of where you came from your darkest hour.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Start a Gratitude Journal by capturing five things, people, events, or occurrences you are thankful for each day. Then make writing in this journal a priority everyday, even when it may be hard to find something to be grateful for each day.
The Power of a Gratitude Journal
One of the best ways to practice gratitude everyday is to keep a Gratitude Journal.
According to recent studies by two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, those who consistently write about gratitude are more optimistic and feel better about their lives.
And I can speak to this firsthand...
When a relationship ended in my twenties, I was brokenhearted and in an unshakable funk. During that period, I returned to writing in my Gratitude Journal to remind me of the many things I had to be thankful for, despite my current state. I started by capturing five things to be thankful for each day.
Some days, the list was simple:
- I'm thankful that I can blink my eyes
- I'm thankful to be fully functioning
- I'm thankful that I woke up today
- I'm thankful that I can walk
- I'm thankful to have food to eat
And some days the list went on and on.
Shortly after I began to consistently keep my Gratitude Journal, I experience an about-face, and all of a sudden it wasn't a S-T-R-E-T-C-H for me to think about five things to be thankful for each day.
It appeared that things were working with and for me instead of against me, and, most importantly, I got my mojo back!
Keeping a Gratitude Journal has also been a great personal benchmarking tool, as it is a visual reference of where I once was and where I now am. It's a record of my blessings, prayers, and happenstances—all the splendor of life's gifts that are the foundation of Carpe Diem.
- Practicing gratitude everyday is a critical component for maintaining good mental health
- Practicing gratitude everyday shifts your focus away from problems and is the best way to achieve happiness
- Gratitude is a very effective coping strategy
- One of the best ways to practice gratitude everyday is to keep a Gratitude Journal
- Start a Gratitude Journal by capturing five things, people, events, or occurrences you are thankful for each day