5 Daily Gratitude Exercises in Less Than 5 Minutes to Change Your Life
1. Every day before you get out of bed, say “thank you” out loud.
When we say the two words “thank you”, we are priming our brains to be more positive. This is because our whole lives, these words have been associated with positivity. We thank people for nice, positive things, not for crummy, negative things!
Keep in mind when you say these two words, you do not even need to be thinking about what you are thankful for. Just focus on saying a heartfelt “thank you”. Your brain will do the rest!
Your brain receives a dose of “feel-good” neurotransmitters, and you are setting the stage for your brain to notice all that is good around you.
You are beginning your day in the most positive way, and also heightening your level of awareness of all the good things that happen throughout the day.
2. Set your intention at the beginning of every day to focus on gratitude and being more aware of all that is good around you.
When we set our intention, we are activating a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System. This is the part of the brain that works as a filtering system and sorts through all of the millions of pieces of data that bombard our senses every day.
Setting our intention to focus on gratitude magnifies our ability to notice and celebrate the good things, and pay less attention to the negative things. Doing so helps the Reticular Activating System do its job.
Setting our intention to focus on gratitude does not change the world, but it changes the way we see the world.
We see the world in a more positive light. We are better able to see the wonderful things, big and small, and pay less attention to or not even notice the negative things.
3. Express appreciation for an important person in your life every day.
Expressing appreciation for people in our lives or their behavior is the easiest way to increase the level of closeness and improve the quality of our relationships.
When we express appreciation for another human being, not only are we making another person feel good, but we are experiencing a boost in mood in the process.
This works particularly well when we express appreciation for things we take for granted, or for behavior that is expected.
This appreciation can be expressed in many different ways – say it in person, write a thank you note, make a phone call, or send an email or text.
4. Use unwanted, “negative” feelings during the day as a trigger to find something to be grateful for, or for a lesson.
When we experience feelings that we do not want, such as jealousy, frustration, or anger, we can use that feeling as a trigger to find something positive in a situation.
One of our greatest human freedoms is our ability to choose our own thoughts. Our feelings are directly impacted by our thoughts. We can use feelings of anger and frustration as a sign that it is time to look for something positive.
What good can come out of this situation? What can I learn here? What is something positive that I can find or create?
This helps us to avoid going into a downward spiral of negativity when something goes wrong, and instead send that energy in a positive direction.
5. Before you fall asleep, think of two experiences you had that day for which you are grateful.
Our sleep is affected by what we do and think right before sleep. Thinking about two positive experiences is a wonderful way to end the day, and bring that positivity right with us into sleep.
When you do this on a regular basis, you will become more aware of things to be grateful for and pay more attention to them as you go about your day, because you know that when you go to sleep, you are challenging yourself to recall two wonderful experiences.
Over the course of time, when done on a regular basis, you are literally rewiring your brain to think more positively. You are training your brain to pay more attention to the positive, and less attention to the negative. This will become habit and involve less conscious effort. It will simply become your way of being in the world. Positive. Appreciative. Grateful.