July - Practicing Gratitude
As a team, a regular activity on our mindful retreats is the practice of gratitude.
Gratitude is the act of recognising and acknowledging the good things that happen, resulting in a state of appreciation.
Gratitude exercises have long been associated with other mindful activities like yoga and breath work, and in 2021 the results of a study by Harvard University suggested that 'Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier'.
"In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships."
Studies have also shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood and immunity.
A Simple Gratitude Exercise
Write down up to five things for which you feel grateful.
The physical recording is an important part, don't just do this exercise in your head.
The things you list can be relatively small in importance (like good weather or a nutritious lunch), or include larger life events (a new addition to your family, a loved one recovering from illness, a new job).
Keeping A Journal
Keeping a journal helps you to establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy.
Recalling moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable theme of gratefulness into your life.
Keeping a physical record of these allows you to look back on everything you have felt grateful for in periods when you may be feeling less mentally resilient.