It’s that time of year again when we get to take a pause and remember everything we’re grateful for. There are so many great gratitude practices out there. The one that works best for me has three parts. I actually try to do this practice several times a week and not just around the Thanksgiving holiday.

You can say your gratitudes out loud or write them down.

The main key to getting the most out of any gratitude practice is the feeling behind it. Anyone can say the words. To get the most benefit, you want to take the time to breathe and feel all the feelings about the things you say or write.

Research on gratitude shows that a regular gratitude practice can literally make you happier, improve your health in general, and improve brain function.

Here’s my 3-part practice:

Part 1: Challenges gratitude

The first part of gratitude is for the challenges in your life. Yep. That’s right. Think of anything that’s felt hard or brought you strife and be thankful for it.

What did you learn? Did it change something else in your life for the better? What benefits did the challenge bring?

For example, the pause that happened with the first stay-at-home order allowed me the space to realize that I wanted to do primary care integrative medicine again. I started the insurance credentialing process while I had a break from my regular schedule. I’m so grateful I had that time. 

 

Part 2: Current gratitude

This part is the most commonly know form of gratitude.

What are you thankful for in your life right now?

Think of everything you can, including physical items, your home, the people in your life, money, etc.

If you’re having a hard time right now, your gratitude might be as simple as the shoes on your feet or the roof over your head. It’s okay if it’s simple. Remember, it’s the feeling that counts.

 

Part 3: future gratitude

This one is the most fun! 

Be grateful for everything in your life you’re wanting to come to you, as if it’s already here. 

For example, if you want a new position at your job, you say, “Thank you for this new position”, and then allow yourself to feel everything you’ll feel on the day you get it. 

 

And that’s it!

I challenge you to try this practice every day for two weeks and see what happens.

And then, of course, let me know.

 

Integrative Medicine includes mind-body practices like these. When we connect the dots between body, mind, and spirit, true and sustained healing is possible. If you’re in Portland, Oregon, come on in and see me in my clinic.

 

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so grateful to you for reading this post.

Have a favorite gratitude practice? Please post it below!

 

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