Practicing gratitude has been shown to reduce stress and improve our sense of wellbeing.
Research shows that when we think about what we appreciate, the parasympathetic (or calming) part of the nervous system is triggered and that can have protective benefits on the body, including decreasing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and releasing dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin helps you feel happier, calmer, and more focused, while dopamine makes you feel motivated, accomplished, and productive.
In plain English - practicing gratitude can help us feel less stressed, more calm, and all warm and fuzzy on the inside!
So today, the challenge is to slow down from the usual busyness of the day and try the 10-Finger Gratitude Practice. Use each finger to count out 10 small things in the here and now that you're grateful for. They don’t have to be huge or profound things - they can be small moments that you might ordinarily gloss over. Some examples include a cool breeze, a great cup of coffee, the kindness of a stranger, or a comfortable bed to sleep in.
Gratitude sentences might sound something like:
“I am grateful for my health"
“I am thankful for my pet”
"I am grateful that I have access to the internet"
"I am thankful for good weather"
"I am grateful for clean drinking water"
You get the idea...
The trick is to keep going even if you get stuck after the first few sentences, and if you really want to take it up a notch, really slow down and savour how it feels in your body when you bring to mind what you are grateful for.
The good news is that gratitude is a learnable skill that can be cultivated. To make it a habit, try creating a digital or visual reminder (i.e. on your phone or using a Post-It note) to do the 10-Finger Practice every night before bed. Let me know how it goes!