Gratitude is so much more than remembering to say ‘thank you’. Exercising gratitude can help promote the production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain and greatly contribute to improving your mood and overall health.
Training yourself to see the glass half full can take practice. Here are some tips on how to cultivate gratitude this summer:
1. Keep a gratitude journal or log
It can be as simple as writing your thoughts on a scrap piece of paper, notebook or even an app on your phone. Before getting carried away with our day-to-day responsibilities, take a moment to jot down at least one thing that you are grateful for. A good cup of coffee, a partner’s gift of an extra 15 minutes of sleep, your kids making their own lunches, your dog not barking to be let out… these are all little snippets of your life that deserve to be captured.
If you can’t commit to a daily entry in the morning or at night, that’s okay; consider a weekly mindfulness recap instead. There is no right or wrong way to practice gratitude. You will find a time and place that will work best for you.
2. Accept negativity, make space for positivity
Gratitude isn’t about only seeing the bright side, it also comes from the recognition of negativity, struggle and pain, while always holding space for good things to come. When good things happen, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge those moments and contemplate their value to your general state of mind. Get a handle on how they make you feel. Registering moments of warmth will inevitably help you better weather the storms that life can blow your way.
3. Share your appreciation
Praise and appreciation can have a big impact on your work environment. At work, show appreciation for the contributions that you and others have made to keep the machine running, as well as efforts to maintain team spirit.
Celebrate small accomplishments. This can be as simple as a “Thank you for the great collaboration this week” or even taking the time to highlight the use of good communication strategies at the end of a group call. Remember to reward yourself for hitting those deadlines; your hard work deserves recognition too.
It may sound silly in the moment but positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that can help everyone feel good about themselves.
By consistently nurturing these habits of gratitude, you may begin to notice a positive shift in your world view. You may feel more positive and find yourself building better relationships, which in turn can boost your personal and professional life. Of course, gratitude cannot possibly heal all wounds, but it can certainly help remind us to always stop and smell the roses. Summer provides an excellent backdrop for improving mental well-being, so do try to take some time out for yourself. Get out there and experience everything the warmer weather has to offer.