If you’ve ever thought that you don’t have time for mindfulness we’ve got the perfect remedy. The ten mindful fingers gratitude practice. This practice combines gratitude, mindfulness and positive psychology to reduce your stress levels and increase your happiness. Already thinking that you’re too busy? It can be completed in 60 seconds or less. We take a look at the benefits of gratitude and how to practice mindfulness using just your fingers.
Professor Robert Emmons from the University of California in his book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier documents the effects of gratitude on our daily lives. His research shows the importance of gratitude in life:
• People who regularly practice grateful thinking can increase their “set-point” for happiness by as much as 25%. That’s not a bad return on investment.
• These increases in happiness can be sustained over a period of months, challenging conventional wisdom that our “set-point” is frozen at birth. That’s a relief.
• Keeping a gratitude journal for only three weeks can result in better sleep and more energy for us. Now for the question we know you’re asking…..
How Can I Practice Gratitude Daily?
When you’re time pressured quick mindfulness exercises are better than no mindfulness at all. This unique mindfulness exercise will give you the opportunity to combine gratitude and mindfulness together, getting more stress reducing bang for you buck. You can do it on your own or with others, you could even do it in a group if you wanted to buddy up with some mindfulness cheerleaders and create a supportive, likeminded network. Here’s how to practice mindfulness using the hands your mother gave you (thanks mum!).
Ten Mindful Fingers Gratitude Practice
- Ideally the best time to practice this is at the end of each day (you can reflect on the entire day then).
- Use each finger to count the things that you’re grateful for.
- You might find it tricky to think of things that you’re thankful for after two or three fingers. Bring your attention to all of the things in your day that you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be huge things, they can be small moments in the day that you might ordinarily gloss over. Real life examples of gratitude might be the sun shining, time in nature, or chatting with a friend or, one of our favourites, space in the day for a coffee in a great cafe.
- Start by asking yourself; “What are you grateful for today?” You could take a look at examples of gratitude lists to get you started, but the idea is that you go off list eventually and intentionally direct your attention to focus on the things that have happened in your day that you’re grateful for. Once you begin to search for the good you’re re-wiring your attention away from the default negativity bias so that taking in the good becomes a habit.
- Gratitude example sentences might go something like this “I am grateful for the great coffee I had this morning” “I am thankful for being able to walk in the park.” “I am grateful for a day off.” or “I am grateful for my pet.”
- Get some gratitude journal ideas by looking at our other gratitude blogs and create your personal gratitude journal, tailored just to you. We like to use a notebook, something beautiful that appeals to our senses and makes us want to pick it up use it. For us, that’s the best gratitude journal of all, one that we actually use.
- Don’t want to write? Try an app instead. There’s free Gratitude Diary, Gratitude Journal, Mojo, Live Happy, Gratitude Stream and Thankful For (free).
Here at Positive Change Guru we love to talk about all things positive psychology. Check out our free resources http://positivechangeguru.com/growth-mindset-toolkit/ or take a look our forthcoming mindfulness, stress management and resilience or positive psychology training events http://positivechangeguru.com/events-2/
Looking for support with you gratitude goals? Take a look at our coaching feedback http://positivechangeguru.com/product/coaching-sessions/ we’d love to help you to prioritise yourself, achieve your dreams and change your life too.
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