The Gratitude Technique And Exercises That Work

Evidence exists that using a simple gratitude technique, such as keeping a gratitude diary and taking part in some kind of daily gratitude exercise can really help you feel happier, more positive and give your zest for life a boost.  So what are the best gratitude techniques to use and where's the scientific evidence to prove that any of this stuff works?

Scientific Proof That It Really Works

In an experiment conducted by Berkeley Education, scientists split people into two groups. One that would take part in gratitude exercises on a daily basis and another that would not.

In a psychological assessment of how they all felt afterwards, those who had taken the time to consider what they had to be grateful for felt significantly better about themselves and were generally more optimistic about the future.

The foundations of this exercise are based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), a technique that helps change negative patterns and improve the way we feel.

The idea is that your feelings, thoughts and physical sensations and actions are all connected. If you have negative thoughts and feelings then these can trap you in a vicious cycle, which in turn bring more negativity.

Exercising a gratitude technique not only helps to stop the vicious cycle of negative feelings and thoughts but it also helps to make new more positive patterns in thoughts, feelings and behaviour, helping you to improve your state of mind using simple daily exercises at home.

This method of breaking patterns and making new ones is the foundations for neuroplasticity, a relatively new area of science we are only just scratching the surface of in relation to how we can use it to combat negative influences in our lives.

Benefits Of Practising A Gratitude Technique

The studies by Berkeley showed that people who practised a gratitude technique consistently report a number of benefits such as:

  • Stronger immune system;
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Higher levels of positive feelings and emotions;
  • More happiness, joy and optimism;
  • Increase well-being and self-satisfaction;
  • Feelings of compassion and generosity towards others;
  • Fewer feelings and emotions of isolation and loneliness.

If this isn't compelling enough, another study showed that gratitude techniques can even boost your relationships, both romantically and otherwise.

It can also boost your feelings of self-worth and value in the workplace while improving levels of trust between colleagues.

Gratitude Diary, Letter, Jar or Tree

Those who take the time to consider what they have to be grateful for on a regular basis feel significantly better about themselves and are generally more optimistic about the future. They can also enjoy the health benefits of practising gratitude.

One way to do this is to journal your gratitude on a daily basis. This can be in your own personal diary or it can be a small piece of paper which is added to a sealed jar or pinned to a tree or houseplant. Think about how amazing you'll feel when you read all those gratitude messages together.

There are elements of each of these gratitude techniques that will appeal to some and not to others, so to help make it a regular activity pick the right method for you.

When someone else is involved in your gratitude, think about writing them a letter to express just how grateful you are. If you deserve the gratitude, think about writing a letter to yourself. This can be an extremely cathartic process and very rewarding when you read it back to yourself.

How To Benefit From Gratitude Techniques

  1. Get excited about the benefits that gratitude can bring into your life and your health;
  2. Practice it every day in whatever form you like;
  3. Prioritise and value the time you give yourself to practice gratitude;
  4. Be specific when you're analysing the reason for your gratitude;
  5. When someone else is involved make sure you let them know how grateful you are;
  6. If you find using one technique is becoming stale... move on to another;
  7. Start right now by telling someone just how grateful you are to have them around or for something they've done for you recently;
  8. Focus on how good it felt to show your gratitude and keep it fresh by practising similar activities every day.

Inspirations About Things To Be Grateful For

  • Think of someone that you’re especially grateful for to have in your life and why.
  • How have you dealt particularly well with a difficult situation?
  • How have things changed for you in recent months and what positives can you take from that? How is where you are in life today different than a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for?
  • What parts of your body to you absolutely love and why (e.g. do you love your nails as they always look good even with little effort)?
  • How have you dealt particularly well with a difficult situation?
  • What positive challenge have you recently taken on in your life?How is where you are in life today different than a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for?
  • In your day to day life do you have any rituals you love (making your morning coffee or walking the dog)?
  • What did you eat or drink today that made you feel great (e.g. particularly healthy, nutritious, tasty, exciting, unique, wholesome foods)
  • Who do you find it difficult to get on with in your life and why? Now think of reasons why they may need more understanding and think of ways to be grateful for them being in your life and forget the rest.
  • Music is a great uplifter. Think of a time during the day when you listened to music that made you feel amazing.
  • Do you have a hobby or interest that you particularly love at the time of year (e.g. gardening in the Spring)
  • What do you love about where you live and why?
  • Did you laugh out loud today and how did that feel for you?
  • Think of someone who did something for you that made your life easier (e.g. did the kids do the washing up or your partner helped you discuss and work through a problem you had with work)?
  • Did you see an amazing sunset, visit the glorious beach, see the stars, enjoyed the hot weather, were excited by the storms? What was it about nature that made you feel good.

Inspired Zest For Life

About the Author

Some call me an idealist but I prefer optimist and I'm on a mission to bring something of value to this rollercoaster ride we're on. I want to give you a practical guide to help you find more happiness and zest for life. All achieved by revitalising the way you think, eat, move and live... so you feel inspired and excited about your future and can attract the life and business of your dreams.

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