Life gets busy, and your days go by without taking the time to harness gratitude. But when you do, a lot of great things can happen. You could become happier and more positive, sleep better, feel less anxious or depressed, and ever have better relationships.
When teaching about gratitude, Kristianna George, an Atlanta-based health and wellness coach, chooses the word “harness” for a reason. “When you're rock climbing, you put on a harness,” George says. “Visualize this harness. We need it in order to rock climb. If we don't have this harness, we can't climb the mountain.” You can also put on a harness for yourself in terms of gratitude, and here are three ways to go about it.
3 Exercises That Will Help You Harness Gratitude
Break the Autopilot Cycle
It’s not uncommon to go on autopilot, where you're going through your days without taking the time to process what's happening around you. “In order to break that cycle, start by recalling the last time you experienced gratitude,” George says. “Write down what happened in that moment—what it felt like in your body, your mind, and in your heart.” Taking a step back and really thinking about these moments—even the littlest ones—allows you to harness gratitude.
Take in Pleasure
According to George, this step allows you to pause and carve out moments in your life to savor. “Savoring through gratitude can be used as an expression of agency, which means we're in control of our thoughts, feelings, and actions and what happens after that,” she says. “There's this empowered feeling that blooms within us when we're savoring what is.”
She recommends thinking about the last time you truly savored a moment fully. “So many beautiful things are happening before us, but we're moving so fast that we don't even know the beauty that’s within us,” she says. Bring yourself into the moment by coming to your senses, like taking a moment during your walk to stand still and enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air.
Tune In To Positive Emotions
Another way to look at gratitude is tuning into all of your positive emotions. "Think about how you can tie gratitude to other positive emotions," George says. "Ask yourself questions like: 'What brings you joy? What interests you these days? What inspires you? When have you had a moment of awe?" George says you can dig even deeper into cultivating these other positive emotions by reading the book Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson.