On a scale of one to ten how important is sleep to you? Would you pay money to sleep better? Do you make a date with your pillow and stick to it? Or are you the type that is to busy, and there are a million things more important than sleep?
Books have been written about how to get better sleep. Which should come as no surprise, considering the fact that between 50 million and 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or deprivation. And nearly 9 million people use prescription drugs to help them sleep. That is a lot of people tossing and turning through the night!
Personally, I’m a lover of sleep. I feel better if I keep it routine and if I get plenty of it. Typically, I’m not one that struggles with not being able to sleep well, but I know plenty of people who do. I’m sure the reasons for their struggles could be from many different things. Perhaps the trick I’m going to suggest today won’t help at all… but then again it might.
What is the trick to peaceful Zzzzz’s?
Gratitude can play a beneficial role in almost every facet of our lives. It can effect our personalities, careers, relationships, improve our emotional well being and improve our physical health. Gratitude is simply an amazing benefit to those who utilize it.
One of the most unique effects gratitude has is on its ability to help you sleep. Did you know your thoughts can effect your sleep? Studies show that if you are a more grateful person you will sleep better…
That’s right! Being the nice person that says thank you actually benefits your sleep. It is especially helpful if you think about the things you are grateful for right before bed.
Having thoughts of gratitude or other positive thoughts are highly relaxing.
Let’s flip the coin now…
Not only can how grateful you are effect your sleep, but how well you sleep can effect how grateful you are. Because of this, sleep influences the quality of our relationships. So, go to bed thinking grateful thoughts, sleep well, then wake up to an increased ability to be more grateful and improve relationships, and sleep.
9 Ways to Increase Gratitude in Your Life
There is nothing new about keeping a gratitude journal. It is a very common way to express gratitude and to help yourself think of the wonderful things you appreciate in life.
It is quick and simple. Just keep a small journal by your bed and jot down 3 things each night that you are grateful for.
Contemplation or Prayer
I say contemplation or prayer because I think in many ways the two are practically the same thing. So just choose the method that works for you. Honestly, I do both.
In college I decide I could use some extra focus on the good. So, I started saying gratitude prayers on my walk to class each day (I know it isn’t the most reverent of prayers, but it was beneficial none the less). In my prayers, I would only thank God. I would not ask for blessings, or share concerns.
I could have simply just thought about things I was grateful for instead of directing it God. Both methods keep your mind focused on the good in life.
Express gratitude through word and deed
You would think after all the times kids get told to be nice that we would all be very nice and kind people as adults. Unfortunately it is easy to forget our manners and get absorbed into our lives and forget that other people need our kindness. The truth is being kind isn’t just for others, it benefits us to. So if it is too hard to be kind for the sake of other people then do it for yourself. Put some focus on doing kind deeds and saying kind words to show your gratitude.
Have you ever met someone that gushes with optimism? You know the type right? Everyone loves them and wants to talk to them but secretly you think they are also super annoying. They are just too happy. And yet people are drawn to them like bees to honey.
Have a personal or family gratitude jar
Let everyone in the family write down things or draw pictures of the things they are grateful for. Do this for a month, or for an entire year then look through them together.
Play the glad game
Have you read the story “Pollyanna”? I will never forget the profound message in that classic book. The little girl, Pollyanna, has a lived a pretty rough life. Nothing in her world has gone right for her, but she exudes happiness because of a game she played with her father. Whenever something would typically cause someone to be discouraged Pollyanna thinks of something she can be glad about in that circumstance. Because of her amazing capacity to be grateful she blesses every life she touches.
I now play this game with my own children and it works!
Have a gratitude partner
It is common sense that if you have a goal to improve something it is easier with a buddy. We enlist friends to exercise with us, why don’t we also enlist friends to be grateful with us? Hey, you could even make your walking partner your gratitude partner too!
Change your self talk
It is easy to look in the mirror in the morning and grumble about a zit, or how you hate one feature or another. But how often do we stare at our own reflections and think about how blessed we are for nice hair, or for strength, or for the wisdom that has come with our crows feet? How often do we praise ourselves for a job well done and feel happy about being able to accomplish so much? Those kinds of thoughts should be constant.
Use visual reminders
A few years ago I wanted to work on my gratitude. Can you guess what I did? I made the background on my phone say, “Grateful?” And believe it or not it really helped. It gave me a constant reminder of my goal to be more grateful and in turn I expressed it more abundantly.
You could do this in all kinds of ways. You could make collages of the things you are grateful, or make a list that hangs on the fridge.
Make it a bedtime ritual
You could do this with your significant other or with your kids. The idea is to not just think of the things you are gratful for but to be blessed by hearing what the people you love are grateful for as well. And what a great way to make it a habit in the lives of your children!
Do you have any other ways to boost your gratitude?
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