Is Gratitude As Important As Brushing Your Teeth?

Gratitude Practice

What if a gratitude practice became as seamless as brushing our teeth every morning or walking the dog? How would that change our lives?

Anxiety often stems from fear of losing control. The details of the future are uncertain right now, so we are challenging you to practice staying present with gratitude. Gratitude exercises have long been part of CORRAL’s Riding Academy curriculum for our girls. Science shows that people who regularly take time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved for huge milestones in life but even for something small like a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.

Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction. Additionally, Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. Emmons research and a Harvard Health study reveal that gratitude effectively increases happiness while reducing feelings of depression and helping deal with adversity.

Even Proverbs 17:22 says, “A grateful heart is good medicine.” Gratitude heals! Practicing gratitude may seem trivial during times like these, but demonstrating appreciation isn’t just another tactic to remaining positive. It’s a way of life. 

Five practical ways to practice gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one the things that you are thankful for each day. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend a few minutes journaling a couple of grateful sentiments before bed. Science says that you will sleep better and longer!
  2. Pray. Use prayer to cultivate gratitude. Thank God for His blessings in your life as you reflect upon all you’ve been given. In the middle of seasons where we are feeling hopeless and helpless, the best thing we can do is turn away from our doubts and fears and turn toward Christ. Psalm 118:29 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His steadfast love endures forever.” Pray through your gratitude list as you remember the giver of all good things!  
  3. Write thank-you notes. Express your gratitude in a handwritten note card for the special people in your life. Thank your co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family as you remind them why you’re grateful for them. Create a challenge for yourself by setting a goal for the number of letters you will write at the beginning of each week. 
  4. Meditate. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and turning from judgment. Pick something to focus on whether it be a pleasant sound, a beautiful flower or the warmth of the sun. The American Psychological Association claims that meditation reduces stress and further develops our ability to express empathy, compassion, and kindness. Here’s a guided gratitude meditation to try.
  5. Verbally tell the people in your life how you feel & what they mean to you. No need to be mushy or over-the-top. Practice saying what you feel in the right tone at the right moment. It could be as simple as, “Thanks for taking out the trash tonight, I appreciate you!” or “Thank you for reaching out.” Recognition means a lot and makes those around us feel valued and appreciated while improving our own well-being.

This week, we are expressing our gratitude for our champion volunteers who make our mission possible to fulfill.

Here’s what our community has expressed about CORRAL:

“CORRAL is the perfect place to improve people with depression and anxiety!! My daughter loves CORRAL, and I  see her change in different ways. I really want to thank CORRAL for helping other people like my daughter.”

This organization and all of its staff and volunteers are really making a difference in this community and in lives! The annual fundraiser [Derby Dinner 2019] was top notch! I am thrilled for the new location they are about to embark upon and the many more lives that are about to be impacted. If you are looking for a great cause to donate to this is the ONE!! You will not regret!!

If you ever want to support a cause that “puts its money where its mouth is” CORRAL does. The work they do with teenage girls is phenomenal, and all of the support goes right to the cause. I give my time and effort to them knowing it will make a difference to someone who needs it, and their program really helps young girls reevaluate their futures so they can move forward with a great foundation and outlook. Truly God’s work.”

Even as you’re reading this, does something that you’re grateful for come to mind? How does that make your body feel? Are you smiling yet? We will get through this season together; and our gratitude-filled hearts will guide us. Tag us on @corralriding on Instagram or Facebook. Let’s make our gratitude practice go viral!

Additional resources:

Why Is Gratitude Important for Recovery, Success, Mental Health and more?

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The CORRAL Riding Academy is a non-profit group operating out of Cary, North Carolina dedicated to bettering the lives of troubled teens and rescued horses.

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