Practicing Gratitude: It’s the Little Things

Practicing Gratitude: It’s the Little Things

Though this year has been challenging and rather uncertain, we’ve been given the gift of time to slow down, take a look around, and appreciate the simple things around us.

Whether that is your warm cup of coffee, your luscious yard (thanks to your newly-developed green thumb), texts with long-distance friends, or an extra 30 minutes of playtime with your kids, the saying has never felt more true. It’s the little things in life that really are the big things, and it’s the little things that are bringing us all joy right now.

A recent study found that people who laugh (or even smile) frequently are less stressed in the face of anxiety-inducing events. Laughter can act as a buffer for feelings of stress, so leaning into joy can boost our emotions and help us deal with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.

Here at Coldwell Banker Caine, we strive to have a community that promotes smiles, laughter, and unity. We celebrated the success of our agents in August through a “Midsummer’s Night” virtual celebration. Full of cruise ship costumes, famous comedians, snacks, and bubbly, we were able to sit back, relax, and celebrate the big and little things together.

Before the event, we asked our agents what their weirdest quarantine purchases were. Among many hilarious responses, some things that brought great joy were a heated massage chair, a waffle maker, an inflatable kayak, four pairs of identical sandals in different colors (it’s all about comfort and confidence, right?), toilet paper, and a year’s supply of Duke’s mayo! It is safe to say that these “little” things went a long way these past several months.

Though it may have seemed like a silly question, there are a number of benefits to writing down what you’re grateful for. Studies have shown that people who keep a gratitude journal exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, are more optimistic, and are more likely to make progress towards their goals.

If you’re interested in starting your own gratitude journal, here are a few tips we found online:

  • Keep your journal out in plain sight – Keep it in a spot where you’ll regularly see it and be journaling, whether that’s on your nightstand to add to before bed or on the kitchen counter for when you’re having your morning coffee.
  • Develop consistency – Find a schedule that works for you, whether that’s daily, twice a week, or once a week. Make it a habit to get the most out of it.
  • Don’t just go through the motions – It’s important that your journaling is intentional and something you look forward to, rather than a chore.
  • There’s no right or wrong way to do it – Start by keeping it simple and writing whatever comes to mind.
  • If you’re at a loss, remember subtraction & surprises – The subtraction technique can be a helpful exercise: Think about what things you’d miss if they weren’t in your life. Another thing to keep in mind is surprises. Unexpected, pleasant surprises can often be the most gratifying experiences we have.

No matter where you find yourself these days, remember to slow down and think about the simple things that are bringing you joy right now.