Your alarm goes off, sending a blast of adrenaline throughout your body, waking you up for the day. Your attention immediately shoots to your meeting later in the afternoon, or caring for your mother-in-law, or worrying about the bill you got in the mail yesterday. You've been awake less than one minute, you're still in bed, and you're already stressed.
A spinning mind full of stressful thoughts is no way to start the day. Gratitude, however, can get your day off to a promising start.
Research suggests that practicing gratitude not only makes you feel good, but has health benefits, as well. Gratitude can lower your blood pressure and help your immune system function. It also reduces your risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.
Starting your day with gratitude is going to take some practice, but eventually it will become second nature.
Upon waking each morning, try thinking of a person you are thankful for. As you breathe deeply and exhale slowly, imagine this person's face. Try to think of all of the details of their skin, eyes, and hair. Imagine telling them how thankful you are for their presence in your life. Repeat this with another person, then another, until you are ready to get out of bed and start your day.
- Emmons, R. A., & Stern, R. (2013). Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(8), 846‚Äì855. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22020
- Sood, A. (2013). The Mayo Clinic guide to stress-free living (First Da Capo Press edition). Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books.