2 Proven Ways to Reduce Stress: Mindfulness and Gratitude

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Picture of Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP

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The mental health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude and how to implement them in your daily life.

It’s no secret that mental health is a hot topic these days. With so much stress and anxiety in the world, it’s more important than ever to find ways to cope. Two effective coping mechanisms are gratitude and mindfulness. But what’s the difference between the two? And which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. That means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without judgment. You can be mindful of anything—from the sights and sounds around you to your own thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, mindfulness can help you anchor yourself in the present and calm your mind.

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One way to practice mindfulness is to meditate for a few minutes each day. Wondering how you’re going to find time to meditate in motherhood? Read our blog post here, promise it is worth it! Once you’ve noticed that your mind has wandered, gently bring it back to the present moment. Mindful meditation is a great practice to use to help yourself relax and fall asleep easier.

Gratitude, on the other hand, is all about appreciating the good in your life. That can mean everything from counting your blessings to writing thank-you notes to showing kindness to others. Gratitude has been shown to boost mental well-being by increasing feelings of happiness, reducing anxiety and depression, and promoting sleep and physical health.

Both gratitude and mindfulness are powerful tools for managing stress and improving mental health. But which one is right for you? The answer may surprise you: both! That’s right, both gratitude and mindfulness have their own unique benefits, so there’s no need to choose between the two. In fact, the best way to reap the benefits of both practices is to integrate them into your daily life. Here are some tips for how to do just that. 

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How to Incorporate Gratitude and Mindfulness Into Your Life

Start your day with gratitude: As soon as you wake up, take a few minutes to think about what you’re grateful for. This could be anything from your cozy bed to your morning cup of coffee. Starting your day with an attitude of gratitude will set the tone for the rest of the day and help you focus on the positive. I love using the 5 Minute Journal to assist in implementing this practice into my morning routine.

Practice mindful eating: Pay attention to the sensations of taste, smell, texture, temperature, and appearance as you eat. Slow down and savor your food rather than scarf it down like you’re on autopilot. Not only will this help you enjoy your food more, but it will also help you be more aware of your hunger cues so that you can better manage portion sizes.

Make time for yourself: Whether it’s taking a bath or going for a walk outdoors, make sure to schedule some time each day when you can simply be by yourself with no distractions. This will give you a chance to check in with yourself and be mindful of how you’re feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally. Check out our list of activities for mental health to learn more.

Show kindness to others: One simple way to increase feelings of gratitude is to demonstrate kindness toward others. This could be something as small as letting someone else go ahead of you in line or giving a compliment to a coworker. Not only will this make someone else’s day brighter, but it will also boost your mood by making you feel good about yourself.

woman enjoying her meal

Gratitude and mindfulness are two effective coping mechanisms for managing stress and anxiety. But what’s the difference between them? Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment without judgment while gratitude is all about appreciating the good in your life. Both gratitude and mindfulness have their own unique benefits, so there’s no need to choose between them—the best way to reap the benefits of both practices is to integrate these mindset shifts into your daily life. Try incorporating some of the tips above into your daily routine, and see how they impact your mental well-being!

Join us November 1, 2022 as we kick-off our FREE 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge!

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Picture of Lauren Hays, PMHNP

Lauren Hays, PMHNP

Lauren was a licensed and trained registered nurse in the NICU and has since made a career shift to focus on mental health. Lauren is now a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, focusing on women’s health and wellness. She is a mom of three precious little men who has turned her pain into passion.

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