Written by: Cynthia Mwaura

Many of us have now heard about making time for gratitude. One of the many mindful practices available to improve mental health. If you haven’t come across the power of gratitude, I will explain it briefly. Gratitude is the process of consciously reflecting and acknowledging the blessings we have. Psychological research has shown that practicing gratitude produces positivity and leads to an individual feeling happier, less depressed, and less anxious (Health Benefits of Gratitude, 20213).  

Each day is a continuation of our previous days, yet different. Some days and moments will go as we have planned, while others will not. During these not-so-good days, to me, it feels like a dark cloud is following me as I move. With some moments being filled with heavy rainfall, that may cause flooding. It is during these moments that I can easily fall into a negative/dark mental state. This is where I find gratitude counters this state of mind. Resulting in taking control of my thoughts, being intentional and present, empowering myself, and seeing the beauty in my life and the beauty that life has to offer. 

In October of 2023, I started the practice of finding gratitude in my life more seriously. I had previously practiced gratitude, however, I was not consistent. By using the app Calm, I have found this consistency. This app allows users to set a reminder to write three things one is grateful for. I find things that I am grateful for to be different some days, while other days they will be like past days. Additionally, sometimes, I find myself coming to a blank. This is when I am thinking too hard. But gratitude can be anything. For instance, being grateful for the family, friends, and/or colleagues in my life, having a working and healthy body, listening to one of my favorite songs, and/or waking up and having the opportunity to be and do better.  

If you don’t have Calm or want another way to practice gratitude, you can either dedicate writing your gratitude in a journal or notebook, also known as a gratitude journal, or on your phone notes app. It’s all about finding what works best for you! It may be hard at first but don’t think too much about it. Just let your thoughts flow and be in touch with yourself. However, if you feel stuck or want broader ways to find gratitude. There are gratitude prompts available online. You may forget to make time to practice, or you’ll find your days to be so busy you forget about it. This is where I have found setting a reminder to be helpful. 

Gratitude doesn’t always have to be in a formal setting. By this, I mean that you could be going about your day and find yourself thinking of something you are grateful for. When this happens to me, I acknowledge it and let it sink in.

 

Reference:

Health benefits of gratitude. (2023). UCLA Health. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/health-benefits-gratitude