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A Mindful Approach To Practicing Gratitude Daily

Written by: Shawnesse Nicole Herbert, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Accepting gratitude is appreciating what is around us and within us at any given time. Gratitude can be tangible or intangible while acknowledging the goodness in our lives. Yet, many of us pursue gratitude when we only need to notice what is around us. Here are five simple ways to start cultivating gratitude daily.


beautiful landscape in purple sky

A noble soul once said, “Today, I choose to live with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, and the voice of hope that says all things are possible." – Anonymous


Thankfulness-Morning Routine


Mornings can be chaotic, hectic, fast-paced, and stressful. Starting your morning with a morning routine allows you to give back to yourself before you give to anyone else. Design a morning routine that helps you appreciate the start of the new day. Decrease the need to scroll on your phone as soon as you wake up. Discover a calm relaxing way to give appreciation to your body by having a gentle start; remember your body has all day to run around, and let your first breaths of the day be relaxed and focused. Before your feet hit the floor, take a moment to lie in the bed and breathe life into your body. Listen to your heartbeat, and allow your breath to fill your lungs. Allow your mind to recite positive affirmations to yourself. Give thanks to your body for showing up for you before you leave the bed. After praising your body for rejuvenating in your sleep, take time to pray, read a spiritual/inspirational word, or create a positive affirmation or intention for the day. Avoid jumping up and running around, creating chaos before you leave your home.


Gratitude Activity: Listen to Mel Robbins Podcast, "A Toolkit for Creating the Perfect Morning Routine."


Focus-Mental Pauses


Take breaks! Establish a routine to pause your day and check your mental state. During a mental pause, check-in and ask yourself how you are feeling. Label the emotions you are feeling, recognize the causes for the feeling, and thank yourself for taking time out of your day to acknowledge yourself. Lastly, take a couple of secs to do some diaphragm breathing. Download apps on your phone or smartwatch for a guided breathing session. These mental pauses help you understand yourself and provide attention to yourself for inner acceptance and self-love. Take mental breaks throughout your day to relax and release stress and tension in the body.


Gratitude Activity: Track your emotions with a gratitude journal or video log to increase awareness and monitor your mental health.


Noticing-Admiring Nature


Ask yourself, when was the last time you watched the clouds? Have you ever taken time to find the horizon and admire the beauty of the sky? As mentioned by Alice Walker in her novel, The Color Purple,


"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back."

Taking time to admire nature is the simplest way to practice gratitude daily. Take a nature walk and notice the leaves on the trees, the stillness of a lake, or the constant shape-shifting of the clouds in the sky. Create time to watch birds build their nest or raft of ducks in a pond. Admire the endless life cycle of nature growing and moving around you. With the constant hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we can become oblivious to the natural elements around us.


Gratitude Activity: Start a garden in your home. Imagine the joy and appreciation you will receive when you watch fruits and vegetables grow within your safe space. It sounds like a great win! Plus, you will reap the benefits of harvesting and eating your produce.


Appreciation-Grace


Things can always be better in our lives. We are constantly contemplating what needs to change so we can be happy. We often meditate on negative experiences and forget about the simple acts of grace given to us throughout the day. For instance, maybe the barista at your favorite local coffee shop prioritized your order, or a nice person held the door open for you or thanked you for your time. Whatever the small gesture was, get into the habit of maximizing the act instead of minimizing the compliment. Practice appreciating grace whenever you start getting frustrated with life.


Additionally, if you cannot find any grace from the outside world, practice noticing the grace you have extended toward yourself. Decrease negative self-talk and admire your ability to try every day.


Gratitude Activity: Fill a jar with all the small gestures of grace awarded to you each day, and at the end of the week, pour out the jar and count your blessings.


Recognition-Night Routine


So, you missed your morning run, skipped breakfast, or arrived late to a meeting, causing you to have a roller-coaster of a day. You have finally returned home (or left your home office), and it is time to go to bed. Bedtime is a great way to start building a powerful practice of gratitude. Purposefully set out time to slow down from your day by activating your five senses. Wear something comfortable, turn on soothing music, diffuse lavender in your bedroom, drink a calming drink, and visualize wins for the day. Let your night routine be about your successes, and reflect on your day's accomplishments. Create a peaceful, calming environment and practice relaxation techniques to unwind and rest. Allow yourself to be free of worries and regrets, and make your bedtime all about your needs. Practice thanking yourself for showing up and doing your best. Rid your mind of regrets and to-do lists for the next day by keeping a night journal to write down last-minute reminders. The purpose of a night routine is similar to your morning routine; it is an opportunity for you to take time to appreciate yourself and give thanks to yourself for completing the day.


Gratitude Activity: Keep a gratitude journal by your bed and write down everything you were grateful for throughout the day. This activity can help you relax and even improve heart health.


Living in a state of gratitude is truly a gift we can only give ourselves. Learning to nurture our souls by admiring what is around us is about letting the light in and appreciating what we feel, see, and have instead of desiring what is out of our control and being left with sadness and disappointment for what we currently do not possess.


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Shawnesse Nicole Herbert, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Shawnesse Herbert is a licensed psychotherapist who empowers individuals to survive their struggles, evolve in their relationships, love their lives, and fulfill their purpose. With her passion for educating individuals on the importance of mental health and the need for more BIPOC mental health professionals, she opened DISCOVER S.E.L.F. PLLC. As a privately owned premier counseling studio, Shawnesse supports individuals who thrive in seeking self-love and self-care. She supports teens and adults experiencing anxiety, depression, life transitions, and other mental health struggles interrupting their daily lives. Shawnesse has worked in the education and mental health fields over the last 15 years to obtain a dynamic understanding of human interaction and behavior development. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology from Texas Christian University (TCU) and a Master's in Counseling from Prairie View A & M.

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