We’ve talked before about the benefits of practicing gratitude (Thanksgiving post and Benefits of Gratitude post). You know it’s supposed to helpful to think of things you appreciate from time to time, but you aren’t sure how to start a regular practice. Perhaps you are probably asking, “How do I go about cultivating this sense of Gratitude so I can start feeling these magical happy feelings?” Here are a few options for things to try:
- Write Thank You Notes. In 2016 I began w my coworkers handwritten Thank You notes to let them know how much I appreciated the little things they did to help me and the kids we worked with. I noticed that after writing each note I felt oddly…good. The things that person did to get on my nerves fell into the background as my appreciation rose to the surface and by the time I handed the little card to the other person I felt so thankful for our work together that I was nearly bubbling with happiness. Try to make a regular practice of writing quick Thank You notes to express your appreciation-you may just find that it brings you as much joy as it brings the person you are giving it to!
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. Last year, I started keeping a gratitude journal and let me tell you, I am now a believer! It has gotten easier and easier to think of things I’m grateful for even on the worse days. If I’m feeling depressed, worried, embarrassed or angry and I stop to think of things I’m grateful for, I notice an immediate increase in my mood. Try this yourself by writing three things you are grateful for every day for two months. If you keep with it, I’m confident you’ll notice some amazing benefits! If keeping a written journal isn’t for you, consider downloading a Gratitude App. Then you have it with you anytime, anywhere to add things you are grateful for or to look back at previous lists when you’re starting to feel down.
- Keep a Gratitude Jar. Find a simple jar and decorate it however you’d like (or don’t). Then, fill the little jar full of little slips or paper or post it notes with various things you are grateful for. The more the better! Next time you’re having a rough day, go take a random piece of paper out of the jar and think for a moment about your appreciation for that item. If it’s a particularly bad day, choose several items out of the jar! And don’t forget to refill the jar from time to time!
Help Developing a Plan for Self Care
Do you want help developing a self care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability implementing a self care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out and calling Aspire Counseling at 573-328-2288. We are a Columbia, MO area counseling center with empathetic, skilled therapists who can help you set goals, develop a self care routine and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our therapists would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self Care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health.
About the Author:
Jessica Tappana MSW, LCSW is the founder, director and a full time therapist at Aspire Counseling. She created Aspire Counseling to provide the Mid Missouri area with a counseling clinic where clients are carefully matched with the right therapist who they will connect with so people feel comfortable in the therapy office. All of our therapists provide at least one evidence based treatment. Jessica is a big proponent of self care and helping people live a fulfilling life!