With the world erupting lately into a big ball of stress and chaos, I decided that I can’t keep fixating and doom-scrolling my life away. It’s not adding anything good to my mental health, and I needed to make a change.

That’s where Realizing Gratitude comes in.

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is the appreciation for what one has.

Sounds simple, right?

It can be.

Until the hectic day to day routines and errands and work and school, etc, etc take over.

It’s easy to say you’re thankful for something. We do it every Thanksgiving around the dinner table. But I’m talking about having daily, mindful Gratitude – a slow down moment in your day to sit and really ponder.

I think in today’s world, we all could use a break. Everything is go go go, faster speeds, busier is better, and I personally just can’t keep up with The Joneses. And I think it took me getting major anxiety at the beginning of this year to realize that.

What are the benefits of Gratitude?

Through my research of Gratitude, I’ve found some benefits that I really want to implement into my life:

  • Gratitude Improves Mental Health – A 2020 study showed that regularly practicing gratitude can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Umm, sign me up! According to Healthline, practicing gratitude creates positive feelings and can contribute to a sense of well-being when done regularly.
  • Gratitude Boosts Happiness & Self Esteem – I’ve read that a five-minute daily gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent!
  • Gratitude Shifts Your Focus – As someone dealing with a lot of anxiety these days, my focus usually is on myself and how I’m feeling. Shifting your focus to outside of your inner thoughts (which can quite often be negative) is extremely helpful.

‘Your life is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts.’

  • Gratitude Encourages You To Reach For Your Goals – When you’re so focused on things that are wrong with your life, how can you possibly push tirelessly towards goals that are potentially years away from becoming a reality? You can’t.
  • Gratitude Boosts Your Faith – You may or may not believe in a Higher Power of some sort – I do. For me, taking time to reflect on the good things that have happened in my life helps me realize that no matter what the situation, God will see us through it safely to the other side. Whatever your belief, Gratitude gives you faith that you’re not alone in things, there’s friends and family in your life, and it helps you see a strength in yourself.

How To Realize Gratitude

Well, the most popular way I’ve seen to Realize Gratitude is starting a Gratitude Journal. I just got this really cute one at Target the other day. I wanted something calming and I love the artwork.

I think when you’re looking for a Gratitude Journal, look for something that stands out to you. Something that you like looking at and feels ‘right’, if that’s not too weird to say haha!

Here’s a couple other ways to Realize Gratitude:

  • Write a Thank You note to someone who did something you appreciated. Thank You notes are really a lost art these days, and so unexpected to receive! Here’s some I just bought to start doing this myself.
  • Volunteer at a charity or organization that helps others
  • Compliment your friends and family
  • ‘Pay It Forward’
  • Take some time away from your phone & social media (don’t hit me!), and go outside for a walk
  • Help someone out at work or give recognition when someone does a good job

How To Use A Gratitude Journal

The thing to know about Realizing Gratitude, is that it isn’t an overnight process (I wish!). This is something that will need to become a habit and part of your routine to really take effect in your life.

Some people say to journal everyday, but honestly, I only do it about every other day…..I’m still trying to get that whole routine down!

Take some time in a quiet spot- maybe outside on your deck or patio, or in a favorite place in your house, or even at a coffee shop. Then just let your mind wander over the things you’re grateful for – holiday memories, children’s milestones, vacations to exotic lands, that time Superman saved you from a burning building – anything! And then write it down. Then when there’s those days that you just can’t seem to pull yourself out of the negative thought spiral, pick up your Gratitude Journal and start reading back through the entries – soon you’ll be able to get yourself out of that funk and keep on keeping on!

The journal I bought for my Gratitude Journal is just a blank journal. There’s a lot of journals out there specifically for Gratitude Journaling, but honestly, I’m too cheap to buy them. I figure I’d just find some Gratitude prompts online to help me out with figuring out what to write about. I found a lot of great ones, so I made a free PDF of some of my favorite Gratitude prompts

Realizing Gratitude is a great way to focus your mind on the positive things in your life, which I think we need much more of these days.

How are some ways you’ll start Realizing Gratitude in your life?