an apple a day

Don't settle for an apple a day - level up to daily GRATITUDE. 

There are so many different ways to practice gratitude, and studies routinely show that even very simple ways of practicing gratitude have positive effects on overall mental health, depression, and anxiety. 

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While journaling isn't a requirement for my health coaching clients, a daily gratitude list is. I keep my gratitude journaling pretty simple. I number 1-3 at the top of the page daily and jot down three things for which I'm grateful. It seems trivial, but it's not. Author of Hardwiring Happiness (and a couple more New York Times bestsellers) and PhD psychologist Rick Hanson explains that our brains are naturally set to focus on negativity as part of our survival mechanisms. For example: that bush has thorns on it that really hurt when I ran through it last week, so I'm not going to run through it this week. PRACTICING gratitude hardwires our brains to focus on the positive, "stimulates the hypothalamus (a key part of the brain that regulates stress) and the ventral tegmental area (part of our “reward circuitry” that produces the sensation of pleasure)." 

And as you'll see in the title of that New York Times article, it's  choice. Which means that anyone - and EVERYONE - can practice gratitude and hardwire the brain for happiness. 

And good news for introverts everywhere, a study of students seeking mental health counseling  found that it's not necessary to share gratitude to notice its benefits. The same study did reveal that it can take some time, but that the benefits of practicing gratitude are long-term. So be prepared to commit to practicing gratitude and keep it simple so that you can stick with it. 

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My two favorites are listing 3 things in the morning (for an added bonus, try not to repeat from day to day) and writing down the high point of my day before I go to sleep. 

Comment below and let me know what you're grateful for today or let me know your favorite way to practice gratitude!