We are offering a weekly blog series with a collection of diverse and effective coping techniques and exercises that can help reduce stress, improve mental and emotional well-being, and perhaps make you even more effective in achieving your individual goals. Check back every Wednesday for the newest skill of the week. Try them all out and find what works best for you.

This week, Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT shares why she recommends the importance of practicing gratitude: Gratitude has shown to be a powerful way to improve your mood and achieve greater wellness. It is easy to forget all of the simple things we can feel grateful for. 

During a gratitude meditation, visualize all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Start with a few deep breaths, noticing your ability to breath in and out, notice your heart beating rhythmically. Notice your body’s unseen systems all functioning without any conscious effort. This can be a good place to start your gratitude meditation.

Notice your ability to breath, hands to touch, eyes to see, legs to walk and run, etc. Acknowledge other things, people, and experiences you are grateful for. Focus on each, giving it the concentration it deserves. Try taking a few deep breaths for each of the things you focus your gratitude on.

A few variations on this exercise: write out gratitude statements in a journal, take a walk focusing on gratitude for the natural world and your connection to it, write a gratitude letter to someone who has had a powerful impact on your life.