A Gratitude practice is a helpful way to enhance our own and our clients’ wellbeing. These practices are key strategy in Positive Psychology yet have been prevalent in Buddhist traditions for centuries. Gratitude means to be thankful and appreciative for what we have. The efficacy for Gratitude practice is well supported.
Gratitude practices have been linked to enhanced pleasant emotions, health, greater ability to bounce back from adversity and improved relationships.
Often gratitude practices are about recalling and noting down a number of experiences over the day or the week that we are thankful for. However, we can enhance our practice by incorporating the 5 senses experience. For instance rather than just mentally noting that you are thankful for 1) your child’s health or 2) the beauty of nature, we can use our 5 senses to connect more deeply with this appreciation.
Choose a specific moment in the day that you are grateful for. For instance when your child was playing on the floor with you whilst giggling and smiling. Or when you were in nature walking through the trees, hearing the birds and feeling the breeze.
It’s quite a different experience just to note these experiences compared to allowing yourself to go into the experience in this 5 sense way. By connecting with what you can see, hear, feel, taste touch in a moment we can intensify the connection with that experience bringing in the feelings and thoughts that were also present then. By reflecting in more of this embodied way we can enhance our practice.
The great thing about gratitude is that it can be a great antidote to resentment, sorrow and anger. Being thankful makes it really difficult to be stuck in the thoughts and sensations tied to these emotions. Further, the more we reconnected with these meaningful moments in our lives this acts to reinforce not only the behaviour we were doing (e.g. playing with our child or walking in the forest) but also reinforces the gratitude practice itself. Bonus!