Have you ever heard the expression, “ A little kindness goes a long way”? Think about that. If I display kindness; a kind remark, gesture, or act towards you, you feel happy, and you may not realize it, but you feel gratitude/grateful for being treated kindly. That same feeling you get when you receive a kind act, gratitude, can be felt when you practice gratitude yourself. Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be an outward display of kindness, rather, simply being grateful for people, opportunities, and experiences in your life. No one needs to know or hear what you are grateful for. You simply speak it to yourself while practicing relaxed diaphragmatic breathing and receive the benefits.
The act of practicing gratitude, has shown in multiple studies to alter the way our brains process information, handle stress, and more. In this article, practicing gratitude, along with compassion, was shown to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. The physical and mental/emotional benefits of gratitude have been proven. Now it is time for you to implement this practice, along with relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, into your daily routine. Here is how I suggest you start your day with gratitude and how you can use it throughout the day to keep a calm mind and body during stressful situations, and as a reminder “check in” throughout the day.
- First thing in the morning while still lying in bed and practicing your relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, think of 1 thing that you are truly grateful for. Be very specific with your thought. Visualize it. Note if there is sound, color, smell, or taste associated with it. Become fully immersed in this item of gratitude. You can even smile slightly, physically displaying your gratitude as your breathe and visualize
- Take this with you throughout your day. Perhaps write it on a note card that you carry with you, or write it in the notes on your phone. Set an alarm to revisit this item of gratitude during the day, or, if you like you can visualize/reflect on another item/items of gratitude during the day. Your options are totally up to you J. If something happens during the day that you would normally see as bad, or a failure, or upsetting, instead try to be grateful that you experienced it, as it serves as an opportunity for you to learn and grow from the situation
- At the end of your day, as you’re lying in bed relaxing with diaphragmatic breathing, reflect back on your day and be grateful for the opportunities you had to learn and grown from. Single out 1, or more, items of gratitude and repeat the steps above. See it, feel it, be it. Be grateful, be relaxed, and fall into a restful, peaceful, grateful sleep