A little gratitude can go a long way when it comes to your mental health. Whether you’re giving thanks to others or patting yourself on the back, studies show that expressing gratitude can instantly lift your spirits and reduce feelings of anxiety.
One surefire way to reap the benefits of being thankful is to incorporate a gratitude practice into your nightly wind-down routine. In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, here are five simple ways to show a bit of gratitude before bedtime so you can sleep more soundly at night.
- Send a thank you note.
Giving thanks to friends, family members, and romantic partners does more than just lift their spirits, it can make you feel better, too. Set a few minutes aside at the end of the day to write someone you appreciate a thank you note to let them know what it is they do that you’re grateful for. Whether it’s an email to a coworker or a handwritten letter to a loved one, it’s guaranteed to brighten both of your days.
- Write in a gratitude journal.
Busy schedules and long days can make it difficult to remember the things you have to be thankful for. Do yourself (and your stress levels) a favor and get your hands on a sleek and simple journal, such as the Keel's Simple Diary Volume Two or The Five Minute Journal, and write down at least three things a day you’re grateful for before you hit the hay. This way, you’ll go to bed thinking positive thoughts and wake up feeling better the next day.
- Try a mindful meditation.
When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, it’s hard to focus on the positive. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to meditate on the things that you’re grateful for and ground your thoughts in the present. Start by lighting a soothing candle, like the blood-orange and bourbon-infused Scented Candle in Night Cap, then close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Bring to mind someone or something you are grateful for, and focus your attention on those feelings of gratitude.
- Share your gratitude with someone.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds while you unwind in bed, consider using that time to time call, text, or tell a loved one about some of the positive things that happened to you that day—and ask them to share the same. This way, you both can pinpoint and express what you have to be grateful for to each other before you drift off to slumberland.
- Say (or write down) a gratitude affirmation.
An affirmation of gratitude is a goof-proof way to end your day on a positive note. Whether it’s after you wash your face or right before you slip into bed, say out loud (to someone or yourself) that you are grateful for the friends, family, and life you have so you can manifest that energy. If you don’t want to say it aloud, you can write it down on a piece of paper to remind yourself to be thankful.