How to make your gratitude practice stick this holiday season

We know gratitude is good for us.

Studies link actively practicing it with everything from having a strong immune system, to fewer aches and pains, lower blood pressure, better sleep, more positive emotions, richer social connections and a generally more meaningful life. The data is clear; it warrants a robust practice.

But how’s that going for you?

If I’m being honest, the most consistent and ritualized way I’ve articulated gratitude in recent years has been “I’m really grateful for X, but…”

It’s not for a lack of effort. I’ve started many gratitude journals over the years. They usually last for about a week, max. It just doesn’t stick.

If you can relate, now seems like a perfect moment to talk about shaking things up in this department.

Let’s talk about how we can we kick-start a practice that lasts.

When I started poking around for online tips, the first thing that hit me was how gratitude may be the golden ticket to everything we’ve ever wanted in life. Again, it’s tied to all the good things. Starting a genuine practice may be the single most crucial step we can take toward self-improvement and general life satisfaction.

But hey, no pressure.

Seriously, I don’t want to cause stress on this lovely holiday. I do, though, want us to fully appreciate how much this effort is worthy of some dedication. It’s big.

So, here are two ways to infuse your days with more thankful vibes. I invite you to try them on and think about what may uniquely work for you, too.

First, one of the best tips I found was to bring our gratitude practices to life. That is, instead of just writing a thing or two in a book, we should explicitly tell people when their actions and gestures are meaningful.

This reminds me of the routine my husband and I started. We call it “appreciation Monday.” While a lot of weeks appreciation Monday doesn’t happen until Thursday (I don’t usually remember on time), it has been happening weekly, and it has absolutely added sweetness and grace to our relationship.

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For this broader gratitude practice, it could be telling someone you appreciate them in person, or in a text, or on the phone. We don’t need to bear our souls in long manifestos, it’s just about being on the lookout for where we can articulate simple messages of gratitude. Making it a point to do this daily is a solid practice.

The other tip: There are a few different gratitude journal apps. I’m trialing one now, and it’s been good so far. It prompts me twice a day and, even better, it’s a phone application other than social media to engage with during those sporadic, unallocated crevices of time throughout the day. Like waiting at a red light, riding in an elevator or going to the bathroom. Theoretically.

All that said, today is a great day to carve out a little extra time for this stuff.

On that note: Thank you so very much for subscribing and reading. This column is where I ramble about all the life-work I’m doing and aspiring to do. It’s helping me figure things out(ish) and it’s a labor of love. It wouldn’t be possible for me to do this if it weren’t for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, let’s go shout this sentiment from our rooftops! Or in a normal voice to the next person we see. Either way is good.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Marci Izard Sharif is an author, yoga teacher, meditation facilitator and mother. In Feeling Matters, she writes about self-love, sharing self-care tools, stories and resources to know and be kind to yourself.

This amazing article on “How to make your gratitude practice stick this holiday season” was originally found here

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