How To Practice Gratitude If Journaling Is Not Your Thing

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We know that when someone says thank you or acknowledges us for something we’ve done that has made them grateful, it sparks joy in our brains, sending us through the rest of our day with a little jolt of feel-good hormones. But the good news is we don’t have to wait around for others to create that feeling for us. 

Practising gratitude, acknowledging what we’re grateful for and actively saying 'thank you' to ourselves and others can have a huge impact on our overall happiness and wellbeing. Research by psychologist Robert Emmons shows that people who regularly practice gratitude commonly experience more positive emotions, feel more connected, express more compassion and kindness towards others and ‘even have stronger immune systems.’

This research, based on the practice of writing down three positive events each day for a week kept happiness levels high for up to six months. But, what if you’re not big on journaling or don’t have the consistency in your daily routine to sit down to put pen to paper?

Throughout Reason Season, our four-week course to help you craft healthy daily habits and routines in partnership with Swisse Multivitamins, we’re turning our attention to showing gratitude in a range of different ways that don’t require crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s, daily. 

Read on for our top tips on how to practice gratitude regularly, if journaling isn’t your thing. 

Share The Love

If you’ve ever had someone tap you on the shoulder, either IRL or digitally, to let you know they appreciate you or something that you did, you’ll know it feels really good. And you best believe that the feeling works both ways. So, instead of writing it down and keeping your gratitude to yourself, tell someone how much you appreciate them, and share that delicious warm buzz of feel-goods to get you through the tougher parts of your day. 

Feel It With Food

While a lot of our thoughts and feeling about gratitude come from our ever-busy minds and the world around us, our bodies are the real MVPs of facilitating everything it takes to cultivate that gratitude. So, show a little inward gratitude through nourishing your body with some homecooked food, and taking a little time to yourself in the kitchen. 

This doesn’t mean becoming a meal-prep aficionado or a chef worthy of prestigious hats—it just means finding a  little time in your week to slow down and treat yourself to some tasty food made with purpose. We love to throw on some tunes and whip up a meal that requires a decent amount of chopping and slicing to ease us into a melodic and meditative state. The best part is you come out the other side buoyed by gratitude and with a nourishing meal to boot. We also find on days where there simply aren’t enough hours, having something prepped and ready to go, or taking on your multivitamins is a great mini-gratitude moment that will keep your body supported until those slower days swing back around. 

Say Thank You 

Say it to anyone and everyone. Your bus driver, your barista, the dog that comes up for a pat when you’re out for a walk. Saying thank you is an audible indicator of gratitude, to your ears and the ears of the receiver. 

Most importantly remember to say thank you to yourself—every small act, like brushing our teeth or remembering to drink enough water every day, are all investments in our overall wellbeing, and you’re the tireless (and likely tired) project manager of it all every day, so give yourself a regular thank you.

Bottle It Up In The Best Way

So, this one does involve pen and paper, but there’s no ‘Dear Diary…’ we promise. This technique is super simple and will give you all of the good feels when you need them most. There’s a little prep involved, but all you need is that old peanut butter or pickle jar hiding in the back of the miscellaneous-items cupboard, some paper torn into small, scrunchable pieces, and a pen or pencil of your choice. 

Once you’ve sourced all your items, find a place for them to live that is accessible but won’t be in the way. Then, every time you experience something you feel grateful for, or someone expresses gratitude towards you, write it down on a piece of paper and pop it in the jar. Maybe it’s celebrating yourself when a  job promotion comes through after months of hard work. Or maybe it’s acknowledging the postman bringing your parcel up three flights of stairs to leave it right at your door because you were in the middle of a meeting. Maybe it’s as simple as you finally perfected the perfect poached egg for your weekend breakfast—the limit does not exist.

Then, either once a year, maybe on New Year's Eve, or really any time you need a little tangible pick me up, crack the lid and soak up the healthy reminder of all the best bits, as big or little as they may be. 

Walk It Out

Search #hotgirlwalk on TikTok and you’ll be presented with thousands of videos amassing over 370 million views of this latest self-care phenomenon. Leaning into the not-so-original concept of taking a walk while listening to a motivational pod, or uplifting playlist, the idea was redefined last year, by the TikTok user, @exactlyliketheothergirls, with a very specific set of parameters. The activity consists of taking a 6.4km walk at your own pace, to the soundtrack of your choice, while thinking about only three things: What you're grateful for, your goals, and how hot you are.

While we’re not all girls, and the concept of ‘hot’ will mean vastly different things to different people, this concept is a great framework for taking the time to bring your focus to yourself, and practice gratitude in a meaningful way that doesn’t require sitting still to reflect. Take whatever works for you from the structure. Maybe you like to do a 2km loop around your neighbourhood, or maybe you like to get out to your nearest hiking trail on the weekends. Whatever your preference, next time you’re out moving your body, take some dedicated time to reflect on what you’re grateful for, what your goals are for the future and pump up your own tyres for a hot minute. 

To make sure you receive the remaining Reason Season modules straight to your inbox, and to go into the running to win a wellness getaway for two worth up to $4,000, head over here and sign up. 

Ready to start setting some goals for yourself? We spoke to Funny Business podcast hosts, Lachlan Bradford and Robbie Hicks about their top tips for setting goals you can actually keep, over here

Image credit: Supplied

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Swisse and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.