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How Practicing Gratitude Can Ease a Bad Day

When things are going well in life, it can be easy to find things we are grateful for, but when times are tough, it can feel daunting to find hope or have any optimism. The challenge of forcing yourself to find something positive during a very trying time can actually be a wonderful cognitive task that can help reduce the negative.  

Research has shown that by practicing gratitude, we can actually uplift mood, reduce negative thinking, and increase happiness. Practicing gratitude can have many benefits for our mind-body wellness. The studies have also shown that a regular gratitude practice can boost sleep, improve physical health, and help build stronger immune systems. 

5 Gratitude-Expressing Activities That Help Ease a Bad Day:

1. Write in a gratitude journal:

This is probably one of the most common gratitude practice examples. It involves simply having a journal that you can write in on a daily basis to express things you are grateful for. When we are having a challenging or difficult day, it can seem impossible to find something positive; however, when we force ourselves into positive thinking it can have a profound impact in a beneficial way. Forcing yourself to look through your pain can be powerful.

2. Make a gratitude box:

This involves less writing than a gratitude journal and it can simply be a random box, jar or other household items that you can use to store brief slips of paper where you write down something that you are thankful for during that day. These small statements can be something jotted down on a post-it note and placed in the box and perhaps it expresses how you are feeling with your struggles that day like “this is horrible, but I will get through it."

3. Say it out loud: 

Express your gratitude and appreciation to someone else. This could be something as simple as paying someone a compliment or it could be something much deeper. Perhaps you have a friend who is always supportive to you and when you are having a bad day, it may be helpful to call up that friend or send them a message expressing exactly how grateful and appreciative you are for their support and friendship. Being kind to others, helps us to feel good too.

4. Share it on social: 

Use your social platforms as a way to express and share something positive even on a day when you are finding it the hardest to be positive. You can find an inspirational quote, a positive blog or article on something you are passionate about or just post something that you are grateful for. Again, this idea of expressing something positive even in the worst of situations can really bring about a change in one’s mindset.

5. Personal Affirmations: 

So while saying it aloud to others by paying compliments or expressing appreciation is very important, sometimes the most impactful thing we can do is express it to ourselves. Use daily affirmations to help ease your negative day to a more positive one. Examples of daily affirmations could be something like, “you can do this,” “you can get through this.”

Blog written by: Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach & Founder of the Loving Roots Project, an online wellness practice specializing in personal growth, mental wellness, & relationship betterment.

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