Daily Gratitude Practice

Why You Need a Daily Gratitude Practice to Improve Your Mental Health

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I’m sharing my daily gratitude practice with you because it has greatly improved my mental health. And my sleep! I’ll be sharing my nightly routine soon.

And I’m offering you all of my favorite daily journal prompts. I have both morning and night ones. Ones to begin your day and ones to reflect back on your day. These, in conjunction with my gratitude practice, are just the perfect combination to care for your mental health.

Trigger Warning

But, really quick, I want to give a trigger warning for some of the content in this article. My past abuse is mentioned. And so is the story of someone who had been disabled from a gunshot wound. There are no details given beyond mentioning just that. The focus is on the experience of healing after the fact. I try to be very transparent with others, knowing some people are not in the right place to hear about subjects like these. 

If you do find yourself triggered by anything brought up in this article, you might find relief in either my Journal Prompts for Triggers or my detailed article on How to Deal with Triggers. As always, I’m here for you.

Prefer to listen?

If you prefer to listen to the podcast audio for this article, it’s listed below for you. And be sure to find me on Instagram or TikTok for more journal prompts and mental health tips! I’m always happy to make new friends.

You can stream the podcast here. Or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, and Pocket Casts. You can also search for Root and Rise Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

Intentions Behind A Daily Gratitude Practice

Before I dive into how I do my daily gratitude practice, I want to first talk about the benefits of a regular gratitude practice. If you are listening to this, I probably don’t need to sell you on why gratitude is important, you likely already know. Going over some of the benefits of daily gratitude is meant to remind you of your intentions behind the practice.

Because intentions are everything. I believe that it’s important to be clear on what your intentions are for everything in life. And to infuse that into every word you say and every action that you take. It can really change how you show up in this world. And can make practices like this that much more impactful.

8 Benefits of Doing a Daily Gratitude Practice

Daily Gratitude Practice

#1 Great for your mental health

Studies have shown that practicing gratitude regularly can improve your overall mental health, helping to decrease anxiety, depression, and overall stress. Something I think most people could benefit from.

#2 Increased appreciation for life

Gratitude helps me to focus more on the good things that I already have in life. And less on the negative things that have impacted me or that I am currently struggling with. I find that it gives me an overall greater appreciation for life when I am not overwhelmed with all of the negative. And because of that, we get to my next point…

#3 Better moods. 

Since I am generally in a state of improved mental health and overall appreciation for life, my mood is better. That just makes sense, right?

#4 Improves relationships

In the same way that my moods are improved from all of these other benefits, so are my relationships. Not only am I able to show up in a more positive way in the relationship, but a lot of my practice includes taking moments to be grateful for the people around me. And all of the wonderful things about them or how they have improved my life. This can help to create an overall feeling of appreciation in relationships.

#5 Helps with healing

One of the parts I will be mentioning in my practice is focused on finding gratitude in pain or challenges. It may seem like a very unnatural thing to do at first. But it has greatly helped me move through my healing journey in multiple areas of my life.

#6 Improves self-esteem

You’ll notice another part of my practice centers around promoting self-love. Finding and pointing out things that you love about yourself on a regular basis helps to improve your self-esteem and how you view yourself.

#7 Protects the immune system

If you didn’t already know, stress wreaks havoc on your body. One of the ways that it can do that is by wearing on your immune system and making it harder to fight off illnesses. Given that we already talked about how gratitude practices can improve your mental health and lower stress levels, this shows how these practices can protect your immune system and keep it strong.

#8 Improved sleep

I will dive more into all of the ways I help myself to sleep better in another episode, but this one is my top, most beneficial one. Doing this gratitude practice at night helps to quiet my brain. It is so focused on finding things, people, or situations to be grateful for, that I am no longer sitting with all of my other anxious, chaotic, or just plain old random thoughts popping into my brain as I’m trying to fall asleep. It has greatly improved my sleep and allowed me to fall asleep much quicker!

Daily Gratitude Practice

My Daily Gratitude Practice

Now, let’s get into my daily gratitude practice! Yes, I choose to practice this at night mostly. But there is no rule about when to practice. The best time to practice is when you have time. And when you have space for this. Find whatever works for you! If this means you are waking up and taking 10-15 minutes to practice, doing it on your lunch break, or if you are like me and doing it at night. It’s all beneficial!

And remember, this is meant to be positive and relaxing. While I will be offering you some structure surrounding the practice, make it your own. Don’t be so stressed out overdoing it right and exactly as I do, that defeats the purpose! I’m constantly changing, ebbing, and flowing with each practice to make it work.

The Gratitude Alphabet Game

So, I call this my Gratitude Alphabet Game. I start by picking a letter of the alphabet, let’s start with A to keep it simple. Now, we are going to be finding 5 things that you are grateful for that start with the letter A. These can be things, people, places, situations, or qualities. Make it about whatever you feel grateful for.

Self-Love Matters

Since I am always focused on promoting self-love, I try to come up with 3 things that I’m grateful for in myself. With the letter “A”, it might be my attitude. Because I am grateful that I tend to maintain a positive and kind attitude. Or it might be my aspirations that I am grateful for. Because they drive me forward in life. Some days, this may be the only moment that I really get to stop and compliment or love on myself a little. And that is so important.

Grateful for Experiences

Then, for the remaining 2 choices, I will choose experiences or people that I am grateful for. I want to add a bit of a challenge for you. Because challenging ourselves is healthy from time to time. You could easily choose experiences or people who have been positively impacting your life. That’s easy. It makes sense to gravitate towards those. And, like I said, there are no rules. Feel free to stick with just 2 positive choices!

However, if you know there are experiences or people who have hurt you. Or are continuing to add any source of negativity into your life, I’m going to challenge you to find something positive to be grateful for in the situation. If you aren’t ready to do this and the feelings are too raw, that’s ok. But, hear me out. I first saw this concept in an episode of Queer Eye. Where Wesley, a man who had been shot and was disabled from that, was able to look the man who did it in the eye. And thanked him

My mind was blown. I had to process it. Go back and watch it again. And then told everyone in my life to go watch it, especially if they had past trauma. My initial reaction was thinking about my abuser. And wondering how the heck I could ever thank him. But Wesley’s message kept ringing in my head. He said he wasn’t proud of who he was before and that this incredibly painful, traumatic life experience completely changed him into the person he is proud to be today.

From Suffering to Gratitude

He suffered. There is no doubt that he has every right to be angry, to place blame, to never forgive. But he took it one step further and not only forgave the man but thanked him. Thanked him for making him the person he was today. Because without that traumatic event, he would not be as strong, successful, or as healthy-minded as he was at that moment.

I challenged myself to think of my abuse and to find reasons to be grateful. Slowly, I found a couple. And then, once my mind was open to that, the reasons for gratitude started pouring in. If it wasn’t for being broken down and destroyed, I wouldn’t have healed. I wouldn’t have healed from trauma prior to the abuse, my past abuse, past neglect, childhood pains that I was carrying forward. 

My behaviors wouldn’t have changed. I’d still be seeking unhealthy relationships with unhealthy people. My mental resiliency would have never been shown to me. Or my general overall strength. In having to pick up all of the billion broken pieces of my life, I was able to carefully and very intentionally craft my life. A life that I could have never believed I was worthy of living beforehand.

Stop Playing Small

Rooting and Rising

My trauma showed me what I didn’t deserve. How I didn’t deserve to be treated. And allowed me to move forward knowing exactly what I needed from other relationships. If I had not learned to be so clear in what I deserved, I wouldn’t have found my husband now. And I wouldn’t have had started a beautiful family. 

This podcast and blog began because I desperately wanted to help domestic violence survivors heal after that trauma. I talk about this in my article, The Beginning of Root and Rise. But as a quick recap for anyone who hasn’t read that yet, I heard about domestic violence numbers rising during the pandemic. And just had to help. I had to do something. Root and Rise was that outlet for me. I was able to share my story, create a safe space for others to share theirs. And I was able to offer guidance and hope for rebuilding after trauma.

None of these absolutely amazing things that I have created in myself or in my life would be here today had I not had this past abuse. Finally, I got it. I could be grateful for that experience, even if I never wanted (or got the chance) to say that to my abuser. This release of pain was for me, not for them. It was crucial in my healing journey to finally look back and see that there was not only a light at the end of the tunnel. But realize that I was now basking in that sunshine, miles away from the tunnel.

Find the Silver Lining

Back to my point, if you can find one person or experience that you still feel pain or any sense of negativity from, I am challenging you to find something to be grateful for. What did that teach you? How did it help you grow? In what ways will you be able to apply this past lesson to your current or future life? And to prevent it from happening again?

And remember, acknowledging something positive in the situation does not mean the negative doesn’t still exist. They can and do absolutely coexist with one another. It’s ok to hold space for both the good and the bad feelings.

As I said before, it’s also ok if you just find two positive people, places, or experiences to be grateful for. It’s important to be flexible. Meet yourself where you are at that moment and do what feels healthy for you. Maybe I’m just planting a seed for a certain negative situation or person in your brain that you will keep watering over time. At some point, you might be ready to find the silver lining for yourself!

Free Daily Journal Prompts

Don’t worry. As promised, I’m offering you all of my favorite daily journal prompts. I have both morning and night ones. Ones to begin your day and ones to reflect back on your day. These do include prompts for gratitude, as well as many other reflective and inspiring ones to help you thrive! 

I’m constantly adding more and more prompts for specific situations like coping with triggers, overcoming anxiety, or self-discovery. Do you have any journal prompts that you would like to see? Reach out to me and let me know! I’d be happy to help provide you with some – because chances are you are not the only one needing them.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Connect with me on Instagram or TikTok to see more journal prompts and mental health tips!

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