The Ultimate guide to Gratitude as Self-Care

Edition 1

Ah, Gratitude. In today’s fast-paced world, self-care has become more important than ever and Gratitude is a free and simple way to add a little self-care to your life. We are constantly bombarded with things that can stress us out, cause anxiety, and were very good at the negative thoughts, which can make us feel like we’re drowning in a sea of negativity. But fear not! Practicing gratitude is like throwing a life preserver to yourself – it’s a simple yet powerful way to stay afloat, keeping your head above water.

In this guide, we’ll be exploring the many benefits of gratitude as self-care, and providing you with practical tips and exercises to help you incorporate gratitude into your daily routine. Don’t worry if you’re new to practicing fratitude or if you’ve tried it before and felt a little silly (or like you had nothing to be grateful for) – we’ve got your back.

So, let’s dive in and discover the transformative power of gratitude as self-care! And who knows, maybe by the end of it, you’ll be feeling so grateful that you’ll break out into a happy dance. (Disclaimer: happy dance not guaranteed, but we can dream, can’t we?)

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful or appreciative of the things in one’s life. It is recognizing and acknowledging the things that we have, whether they are big or small, and expressing appreciation for them. Gratitude is not just a feeling, but also an action – it involves actively expressing our appreciation, whether its by sharing it with someone, writing it down, thinking about it, or savoring the emotions, for the good things in our lives.

Gratitude can take many forms, including expressing thanks to others, keeping a gratitude journal, or simply taking a few moments to reflect on the good things in our lives. It can be practiced in any situation, whether things are going well or we’re facing challenges.

Research has shown that practicing gratitude can have benefits for our mental and physical health, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep quality, and increasing feelings of happiness and satisfaction. It can also strengthen our relationships with others by promoting positive feelings and fostering a sense of connection.

In short, gratitude is a powerful self-care practice that can help us cultivate a more positive and fulfilling life by focusing on the good things we have and expressing appreciation for them.

So Why Gratitude as Self Care?

The Brain has a great way of protecting us, by being sensitive to anything that would threaten our survival. The problem with that is it can be really hard in todays modern world to shut off the red alert and come back to normal operating procedures, which is called rest and relax ( I like to add retain becuase its when we learn the best as well).

So then how do we get our brain to drop red alert and go to “everythings fine”?


Slowing down and pointing out the things we are grateful for tells our brian ,”yeah! we can take a break now, we aren’t in mortal danger!”. It can be simple things like the birds singing or a cup of tea in the morning. When we begin to practice gratitude and self-care, we can notice that our minds become less cluttered and overwhelmed with negative thoughts. This improves our mental health and allows us to have more peace and joy in day-to-day life. Gratitude is the switch that takes us from the 4 f’s (fight, flight, freeze, faun) to the 3 R’s, and I am not talking about Reading, ‘Ritin, and ‘Rithmetic.

The Three R’s that promote healing and improve our lives are Rest, Relax and Retain. We don’t have to lay in bed to rest from our worries and stop running from the paper tigers that chase us. Rest, Relax and Retain can be a very active time when our brain is able to focus and we are able to be in active recovery. This can be started by looking for things to be grateful for. When you slow down and startt hinking,” Hmm, What is one thing that is good that I am grateful for you shift your brains focus from “I am in danger,” to ” I can recover now.” This means that your digestion starts working better, your brain lowers its alert status, and your body begins to let go of the adrenaline pumping activites and instead moves into repair and heal activities, even when you are moving about your daily life.

I can think of no better way to take care of yourself then to turn off red alert and move into the rest and repair cycles that you need and deserve.

I have researched this extensively as I have lived my own crazy, overwhelming life. I take care of one teenager that is special needs, my aging father, I have a husband I adore but we are both human with our won foilables, I have a home to keep, a garden to tend, and classes to keep up with, as well as a blog, a job and a podcast! I totally get those paper tigers that seem to come running off the page to “get you.” When I am totally exhausted and can’t sleep and my brain keeps going over that one things that is eating at me gratitude comes to the rescue!

When I don’t practice gratitude I feel slower, and like the world has crashed around me, but when I do practice it I feel like the sun has come out and that there might just be someone else that understands what it’s like to be where I am.

Common Myths about having Gratitude

Why are people so resistant to having gratitude? Mostly because they have some false beleifs about what is means to practice gratitude.

Myth 1: Gratitude is only for big things.

Some people believe that they should only express gratitude for major events or accomplishments, such as landing a new job or buying a house. However, gratitude can be expressed for anything, no matter how small it may seem. In fact, research suggests that expressing gratitude for the little things in life can have just as much of a positive impact on our well-being as expressing gratitude for big things.

Myth 2: Gratitude is a one-time thing.

Another misconception is that gratitude is something that only needs to be expressed once, and then it’s done. However, gratitude is a practice that needs to be cultivated regularly in order to have a lasting impact on our well-being. It’s important to make expressing gratitude a habit and to incorporate it into our daily routine.

Myth 3: Gratitude is only for positive experiences.

Some people believe that they shouldn’t express gratitude for negative experiences or difficult times. However, expressing gratitude in these difficult situations can help us find meaning and purpose in our struggles, and can also help us appreciate the good things in our lives even more.

Myth 4: Gratitude is just being polite.

Some people view expressing gratitude as a social norm or a way of being polite, rather than as a powerful self-care practice. While it’s certainly polite to express gratitude, the benefits of gratitude go far beyond social etiquette. Gratitude has been shown to have numerous physical and mental health benefits, and can help us cultivate a more positive and fulfilling life.

How to get started with Gratitude pratices

Gratitude practices don’t need to be elaborate or take a bunch of time. Instead it should be a mindset, a way to create more time for your body and brain to recover and relax, even as your going about the things your already doing.

Start a gratitude journal:

Each day, write down a few things that you’re grateful for. This could be anything from a good cup of coffee to spending time with loved ones. Writing down your thoughts can help you focus on the positive things in your life and cultivate a more positive mindset.

Express gratitude to others:

Take a moment to thank someone who has made a positive impact on your life. This could be a friend, family member, or even a stranger who has done something kind for you. Expressing gratitude to others can help strengthen your relationships and promote positive feelings.

Practice gratitude meditation:

Set aside a few minutes each day to focus on feelings of gratitude. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and visualize the good things in your life. Focus on the positive emotions that come with these thoughts, and allow yourself to feel grateful for them.

Use a gratitude jar:

Get a jar and some small pieces of paper. Each day, write down something that you’re grateful for and put it in the jar. Over time, the jar will fill up with positive thoughts and emotions that you can revisit whenever you need a little boost.

Take gratitude walks:

While taking a walk, (or what ever you happen to be doing) focus on the positive things around you. This could be the beauty of nature, the kindness of strangers, or the love of your family and friends. Allow yourself to feel grateful for these things and let the positive emotions wash over you.

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Tips for success in Gratitude practices

  • It is an art, which means it takes lime to learn and practice, and it is always changing. Gratitude is allowing, not forcing. It is noticing this things that are positive and that you are grateful for, not a pushing to find something.
  • Be patient with yourself. If you are super stressed and not quite sure what you could be grateful, think about things like am I grateful for this breath, that I can see, that I can feel, taste, hear, hmm, laugh, and start there. There is no such thing as too small when it comes to being grateful.
  • Say it out loud. Be willing to express your gratitude to others, and you may be surprised to hear others around you pick up the idea and run with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gratitude mans we are allowing our minds to move from the stressors, negatives, have to for a moment and instead focusing on the I am blessed to have, I am lucky to see, I am happy to say, and just allowing those things to create gratitude instead of taking them for granted.

There are three ways Gratitude shows itself in a person:

  1. An Affective trait: meaning that you just are a grateful person
  2. A Mood: Meaning it is a mood that comes and goes across days
  3. An Emotion: A short term reaction to a specific event


1. Helps people feel more positive emotions such as awe and happiness,

2. Savor good experiences that are happening,

3. Improves health because it activates the rest, relax and retain side of the body and brain

4. Deal with challenging times by building resilience

5. Build strong relationships

  1. Be mindful of what’s around you and how your grateful for it. Practicing mindfulness helps you tune in to the present moment.
  2. Practice gratitude for the little things you normally take for granted.
  3. Share your gratitude for your loved ones or friends
  4. Spread gratitude via your social media platforms, write a letter, or just say it outloud.

  • Set a mindful thank you timer on your phone
  • create mindful gratitude rituals
  • compliment yourself and show yourself gratitude for what you do for yourself and others
  • Thank the univers, God or whatever your grateful to for the things you are grateful for
  • Create a gratitude list on your phone that pops up at random times

The simplest way of expressing Gratitude is to say thank you and mean it. When you midlessly say thanks you may not feel it as deeply, but when you truly feel grateful and say thank you it changes the intereaction and benefits both people.

Brian Tracy has coined the term the four A’s of gratitude:

1. Appreciation


3. Admiration

4. Attention

To watch a video by Brian Tracy about gratitude click here.

The last thing you need to know about

Gratitude as Self-Care

Any one, Any where can practice gratitude. When you are feeling a negative emotion and you want to flip your own emotions to a more positive point of view looking for things you are grateful for can help you overcome the challenging feelings and gain a better perspective of the situation. Even if its a situation at work or a job you don’t like you can simpley begine to talk about how you still have your time at home, or your hobbies, or what ever it is you have, even if its just your diet softdrink you bought last night and get to sip on today. There is always something to help neutralize the challenge, even saying I am so glad I have the job and what it gives me by making that money. It can help you get through the challenge and move forward. You could even be grateful for the challenge because it is helping you be more resilient in the moment.

If its your kids you can be grateful for the sweet things they do like writing you Mother’s Day cards, or when they give you a hug, and say I love you, when they figure out they messed up and say sorry, or when they do things that are funny, silly, or make you proud.

Life has these touch points that you can absolutley be grateful for and the more you are on the look out for them the more you will find them.

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