Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions — it can improve your health physically and psychologically, combat aggression, and even help you sleep better. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep,” Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., an expert on the science of gratitude and professor of psychology at U.C. Davis, explains. “Gratitude reduces the lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide.”
The best way to start a new habit is to start small, with Microsteps, since a too-small-to-fail action can ladder up to big change. One easy Microstep you can take is to take a brief moment to practice gratitude each day. You can say “thank you” in the moment, use a gratitude journal, or attempt what E! News’ Pop of the Morning host Lilliana Vazquez calls a “Gratitude Tour.”
“I learned about this from Rabbi Steven Leder, and it’s completely blessed my life in a way that I could have never imagined,” Vazquez tells Thrive. “He suggests writing a letter to someone you’re grateful for, and then not sending that letter, but reading it to them in person.”
Vazquez says that she was so inspired by this idea, she decided to try her own version. “I send handwritten notes expressing gratitude — just because,” she explains. “I try to write one of these a month to a friend, family member, or co-worker. It’s been so easy to keep up because I truly believe there’s so much power in just saying ‘thank you.’”
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