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  • Rayna Venkadesh

Practicing Gratitude

This Article was written by Rayna Venkadesh, Year 7

This year has certainly been a rollercoaster for most of us. The uncertainty has been daunting and it is easy to lose gratitude in such a landscape when everything seems to be going 'wrong.' At the end of a year as such, it is important that we reflect back on the things that we perhaps take for granted- and the things that still managed to put a smile on our face.

We should learn to focus on the things that are present in our lives and acknowledge the privileges we do have. Because despite the many hurdles and hardships that seem to just keep coming our way; there is a light at the end of a (perhaps very long) tunnel that we should not forget about.

Gratitude is no easy task- it requires patience and practice, but when you do capture it; it will be worth it.

Aesop put it quite simply:

"Gratitude turns what we have into enough."

Carry on reading for a guide to practicing gratitude.

TOP 10 Ways to become more grateful

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal:

Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits and things you enjoy. Write down your goals or the valued people in your life. It is good to also write down what you are looking forward to the next day. (Find journal prompts on Pinterest that you can follow!)

2. Remember the Bad:

To be grateful in your current situation, it is helpful to remind yourself of the hard times you once experienced. When you remember how life used to be and how far you’ve come, you feel thankful on what you have achieved today.

3. Using the right words to describe your life:

Using negative language and descriptions can make a situation worse- and makes it harder for you to be thankful in general. For example, "my horrible illness" portrays a more negative perspective on this instead of simply saying "the illness that I have."

4. Take a minute to be thankful for your life:

Sometimes a good way to get on track of things is to take a break (a break itself is a good reason to be thankful.) At school, when it’s break time, step outside for a while instead of staying inside. Breathe the fresh air, stretch your legs and limbs because it’s probably the only time you get to do this since you are stuck to your desk all day. You should also take time to notice the littlest things you should be grateful for like your breakfast or the pillow you sleep on.

5. Be positive about yourself and others:

Self-respect is the most important thing about being more grateful. If you respect yourself, others will respect you. You should also make sure that you are saying 'please' and 'thank you.' Don't talk down on yourself and don't allow other's to walk all over you. If you can be your worst critic- then you can also be your own biggest fan.

6. On track with your eating habits:

Make sure you are putting food in your stomach that makes you feel good. Go for veggies and fruits like kale, red peppers and bananas; good carbohydrates like brown rice and protein such as salmon, nuts, lean meats and egg. Don't constrict yourself to harsh diets... but instead try to maintain a good balance between healthy food & treats. Stay hydrated by drinking lots and lots of water. 60% of your body is made up of water- and it is essential in making sure that every part of your mind and body is running smoothly. Take sips regularly and drink before you get thirsty.

7. The amount of sleep you get matters!

Sleep is a huge component of maintaining health and happiness, both of which makes it easier for you to be thankful. Set a consistent bedtime and wake up time and create a comfortable sleeping environment and evening routine that suits you. Most importantly turn off all electronics well before going to bed.

8. Follow a regular exercise routine:

Exercise releases happy chemicals in your body which help to regulate your mood and make you feel better. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This can be as simple as going for a run/ walk, dancing, swimming, etc.

9. Meditate regularly:

Meditation is another good way of dealing with mental health issues. It can also help support your thankfulness and gratitude practices. Go somewhere quiet for at least 15 minutes each day. Sit comfortably and take deep breaths. Focus on your breathing. When errant thoughts come to your head, acknowledge them and let them go as you exhale. There are some great apps to help with this, such as 'Calm' and 'Headspace'- as well as guided meditation sessions that are available on YouTube (so you have no excuse!)

10. Practice Mindfulness:

Think about the present: focus on your senses. What can you see in your surroundings? Can you hear anything? Touch or taste anything? What does it smell like? How are you feeling in this moment. Find every detail that makes up the moment you are living now. Spend some time to adjust to this information and to recognise your emotions. This will help you appreciating and finding gratitude within every tiny detail of your day- which sometimes is all we need.

Share us your tips on how you practice gratitude.

If you try any of these routines; let us know how they go.

Until then,

Thank you for reading this article.


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