Best Friend Handbook: How to Practice Gratitude

Best Friend Handbook: How to Practice Gratitude

My friend Katherine Stuart writes a wonderful blog,”Best Friend Handbook,” everything from fashion and beauty tips to nutrition and recipes – including recipes for success in life – which she feels is aided and abetted by practicing gratitude every single day.

If you missed her blogs, that is because Katherine had to take 11 months off to heal from cancer. But now she is healthy and back on the job. Since her daily practice of gratitude allowed her to keep a smile on her face during the roughest time in her life, Katherine decided to share her approach with you.


We are all brought up being told that happiness is a given. But the truth is, it’s not. Happiness takes work, especially when times are tough. Trust me, I know. Having recently emerged from 11 months of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation (3 things that can fell even the most peppy of people), I have managed to keep a smile on my face. I know that my ability to remain happy despite some somewhat gruesome circumstances is due, in large part, to my daily practice of gratitude. It turns out that taking just a few minutes every day to appreciate what you have can literally change your life.

Gratitude is Good for Your Brain

For starters, gratitude is good for your brain.

A 2009 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that feelings of gratitude cause our brain to release dopamine. This is the chemical that makes us feel good. It’s why a lot of people do drugs. They’re chasing this natural high that we can actually achieve for free, without poisoning our livers, by simply being aware of and appreciating the good things in life. So, you want to know how to practice gratitude? My secret as well as one of the easiest ways to do this is with a gratitude journal.

Gratitude Journal

I take 5 minutes every morning to write down 3 things for which I am grateful. I use one of those black-and-white school composition books. You could use your phone, but there is something about physically writing out the words that is truly powerful. A gratitude journal sets my intention for the day to be one of appreciation and thanks. How does this lead to happiness? Well, first, it takes me out of myself and my ego — always a good thing according to every meditation teacher and spiritual guru on the planet. Second, it places my focus onto what is working in my life as opposed to what is not.

The key with a gratitude journal is to be as specific as possible without overthinking things. For example, if you are grateful for your best friend, why? Is she a good listener, compassionate, funny? Sometimes, coming up with 3 things is easy and other times, it’s a stretch. I have been known to express my thanks for green tea on more than one occasion. So, don’t expect every entry to be Shakespeare. The key here is to just be consistent and make a daily practice out of it.

Practicing Gratitude = Self Care…

Continue reading here.

More about Katherine Stuart:

Katherine is a former movie executive and screenwriter who now runs her own content company, Content by Katherine. Her blog, the Best Friend Handbook, was born out of a desire to help other women feel better about themselves. As a lifelong best friend, fashion aficionado, former Pilates instructor, and amateur cook as well as the person that everyone comes to for advice, Katherine decided to take her opinions global, and create a virtual best friend. You know, someone who loves you no matter what. Who never judges you for eating, say, a quart of ice cream, always knows the best recipe for an impromptu dinner party and who can tell you exactly which eye cream will make you look like less of a hag the morning after one glass too many.

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