Gratitude exercises are hugely popular right now, and rightfully so! Countless research studies show that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. There is research coming from UC Berkeley that states that compared with the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counseling, those who practiced gratitude reported significantly better mental health. This suggests that practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.
On a personal note, I just came back from the most amazing trip to Costa Rica in which we practiced gratitude. Today’s intervention is taken from my amazing yoga teacher from the trip and a gratefulness exercise he had us complete. The awesome thing that I really like about this exercise is that it not only has you list what you are grateful for but encourages you to put it into action.
To practice this exercise, here is what you need:
The very first task is to list between three and five things that you are grateful for. Below, I put an example of some things that I am grateful for, including my yoga practice, my job my home, the nice weather, and my health.
The second part of the exercise is exploring how these things that you are grateful for make you feel. This is a great aspect to the exercise because it not only encourages you to dig a little deeper into your gratitude, but work on emotional identification as well!
The third part of the activity is action oriented towards yourself. It includes exploring how you can re-create these feelings for yourself moving forward. In my example, I list things such as continuing my yoga practice on a regular basis, beginning a medication practice, and going outside.
The final aspect of the exercise is aimed at reflecting on how to create these feelings for others. I really enjoy this piece of the exercise because it truly encourages us to go forth and create a community by sharing the things we love with others.
This is a great exercise to practice multiple times a week to help mental well being. Practice it yourself and/or introduce your clients to this exercise. Tell me about your experience in the comments below!
Until next time, Play On!