Powerful Practice to Boost Mental Health & Well-Being

It’s funny how, in hindsight, your mind remembers the little things you normally overlook; like the tick-tock wag your dog’s tail makes when you first walk through the front door. We had to put our family dog down yesterday, and what comes to mind now as we enter the quiet house is the tapping sounds her little toenails used to make as she would come running into the kitchen when she smelled her food heating up in the microwave. Or that little gravely bark of hers when she wanted you to pick her up to sit with you on the couch, because she could no longer jump up herself. It’s the little moments we can easily take for granted, because we’re so often on the go or distracted by life.

Now is a good time to slow down, zoom into the moment and take a deep breath. It’s so simple to do when you allow yourself to be really present, and it’s in those quiet moments that you have almost instant access to peace.

Taking more time to be grateful for the little things can make a huge difference in your mental health and well-being. You can amp up the benefits of gratitude with these key ingredients.

Focus

Practicing gratitude is not about rattling off a bunch of things that you are thankful for. It’s more than that. It’s about taking a few seconds to stop what you’re doing and let yourself reflect on what you’re grateful for, and then allow those emotions of joy and appreciation to bubble up inside of you.

You can try it right now. Think about something you’re grateful for. It could be something big like your family, your home or a fully stocked refrigerator. But it could also be something small like the sound an ice cube makes when you drop it into a glass of water or the warm rays from the sun shining on your face. It could even be that moment when your friend says something and you both laugh so hard you cry, and for a few seconds nothing else matters.

You can just close your eyes and use your senses to relive any of these experiences in your mind. Remember, your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. This is why watching a commercial for pizza can cause your mouth to water, and before you know it you’re going to the fridge looking for something salty to eat.

Taking time to focus on what you’re grateful for can help you get to a place of calm. If you focus long enough and engage your senses, you’ll also notice feelings like joy begin to surface and move throughout your body.

Allow

While practicing gratitude, allow yourself to stay with the image or memory in your mind for at least a minute. Abraham Hicks says it takes 17 seconds to shift an emotion, so by giving yourself some time, you can drop out of any stress or overwhelm and move towards more positive feelings. Think of spending this short time as a “stay-cation.” In other words, you don’t need to go anywhere. All you have to do is close your eyes and use the power of your imagination to feel and experience almost anything you want. You truly reap the benefits of gratitude when you let yourself feel the appreciation, love and happiness in your bones!

Practice

Practice makes better. The more you do something, the easier it gets. I think back to when I was first learning how to play the piano. In the beginning, playing the notes and chords felt disjointed and strange; but the more I practiced, the easier my fingers moved about the keys. It was effortless, and I didn’t even need to think about it. My fingers just moved and created beautiful music. You’ll find that thinking about what you’re grateful for will become more natural and effortless the more you do it.

When you make it a practice of focusing on what you do have, what is working and what can be done while feeling appreciation, your mind relaxes, and you become more optimistic, resilient, resourceful, and creative. Ideas seemingly come out of nowhere. Suddenly the thing you’ve been trying so hard to figure out just becomes obvious. I was recently wracking my brain to come up with a name for a process I created for my clients. After getting to the point of frustration, I decided to let it go for the time being. The next morning, I opened my eyes and the perfect name for my process just popped into my mind. No effort required! This shows how the solution you seek is already there. It’s just a matter of relaxing and allowing the answer to surface.

After focusing on the positive, you’ll also start to notice that an abundance of good will start to come seemingly out of nowhere. Life starts to look better and brighter. People just begin to come together to support, uplift and connect. But did they just start to rise up, or were they already doing this and you just didn’t notice until now? This abundance is not coincidence or out of the blue. What it comes down to is that you experience whatever you choose to focus on and the good thing is, you get to re-decide in each new moment!