Gratitude is the practice of acknowledging the good in our lives, and recognizing that sources of goodness lie at least partially outside of ourselves. The practice of gratitude involves nurturing genuine appreciation for the people or things in our lives that we value.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is associated with emotional well-being. Gratitude can help us feel more positive emotions, enjoy pleasant experiences, improve our health, increase self-worth, and strengthen relationships. Gratitude has the power to enhance meaning and purpose in our lives, and build resilience in times of stress.
Here are a few gratitude practices to consider:
1. Gratitude Journal. Before going to bed each night, write a list of three things about that day for which you’re grateful and identify the value in each.
2. Gratitude in Nature. Spend time in nature and see how many positive things you can appreciate. Engage your senses. What do you smell, feel, hear, or see? Reflect on your experience of appreciation.
3. Things You Take For Granted. Imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your job, your abilities, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would feel each step of the way.
4. Gratitude Letter. Write a letter to someone who has had a positive influence in your life. The letter doesn’t have to be long, but be specific about what the person did and how it affected you. Take it one step further and share this with the person.
5. Put Things in Perspective. Use the power of gratitude to defuse some of the difficult emotions you may feel following a failure or setback that you experience. After a negative event put things in perspective by remembering that every difficulty carries within it an opportunity. When faced with adversity, consider asking yourself the following questions:
· “What can I learn from this?”
· “How can I benefit from this?”
· “Is there something about this situation that I can appreciate?
6. Gratitude Reminder. Place an object somewhere in your environment to remind you to practice gratitude each time you see it. It can be a little sign that says “Thank You” on your desk, or a jar that says “Grateful” on your shelf to remind you to look for the good.
7. Gratitude Collage. This is an exercise in visualizing gratitude. Take a picture of one thing you are grateful for every day for a few weeks. Notice how you feel during the exercise. Look back through the pictures each week. The pictures can be of simple items and you might take multiple pictures in a day. After some time has passed, put your pictures together in a collage to help remind you of the importance of the little things in life.
8. Gratitude Partner. Find someone, it can be a friend or a family member, and share what you’re grateful for with each other. You can remind one another of things that each of you may have forgotten.
9. Through the Eyes of Another. Sometimes we get so used to the good things in our life that we stop feeling appreciation for them. Find a way to see the things, people, and places that you love through the eyes of another. For example, do the following with a friend:
· Take them to your favorite outdoor park or restaurant
· Lend them your favorite book or recommend your favorite movie
· Share a favorite memory with them.
This will allow you to see the ordinary details of your life through the eyes of another and renew your appreciation for these things.
10. Four Questions. A great way to bring things that you’re grateful for to the forefront of your mind is through reflection. At the end of each day, ask yourself:
· What touched me today?
· Who or what inspired me today?
· What made me smile today?
· What’s the best thing that happened today?
*Exercises retrieved from:
Watch this to learn more about the power of gratitude:
An Experiment in Gratitude