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Gratitude Exercises

In the last lesson, you learned about gratitude and the science behind it.

Next, let's get into ways to practice gratitude.

First, you can simply keep writing things down that you are grateful for like you did in the last lesson. Formally, this would be known as a gratitude journal.

Emmons mentions that you can experience benefits from this by writing just 5 things a week that you are grateful for.

He believes this practice works because it consciously and intentionally focuses your attention on developing more grateful thinking and on eliminating ungrateful thoughts.

This also helps to guard against taking things for granted; instead, you will see gifts in life as new and exciting.

Emmons believes that people who live a life of pervasive thankfulness really do experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of life by not feeling grateful.

Another way of practicing gratitude is by counting your blessings on a regular basis such as first thing in the morning or in the evening before bed. It's not even necessary to write them down. Rather, say them out loud with a statement such as "I am so happy and grateful for this new day...I am so happy and grateful for my house...I am so happy and grateful for my spouse."

Finally, try an exercise of thinking outside of the box to practice gratitude. An example of this, which Emmons notes, is Mother Theresa talking about how grateful she was to be able to help the sick and dying people in the slums of Calcutta because it helped her to grow and deepen her spirituality.

This is a very different way of thinking about and practicing gratitude because it focuses on what you can give as opposed to what you have received. And that can be a very powerful way of cultivating a sense of gratitude.

YOUR TASK: Select a method of gratitude practice as well as WHEN you are going to commit to practicing this. Are you going to do it weekly? Daily? Will you write it down? Say it out loud? When will you practice it? As soon as you wake up each day? On Sunday?

My suggestion is to make this a regular habit but if you aren't ready to commit to that, then give yourself 2 weeks, if practicing daily, to 2 months, if practicing weekly, before you decide whether or not it's for you.

Again, I cannot stress enough how much of a skeptic I was when it came to practicing gratitude. On the flip side, I used to get annoyed when my mom would tell me to do such things. But I firmly believe and know that if you start practicing this regularly, you will see a shift in your life.

In the next lesson, you will learn about affirmations and how they differ from gratitude.

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Written by

Kristin Nicole