Simple Gratitude Practices to Try Today
We hear a lot about the hustle.
To accomplish anything in life you must put your nose down and grind. Because let’s face it, a hard work ethic is powerful.
But it’s also over-glorified.
Sometimes, in the pursuit of success or wealth, you forget how ridiculously precious life is. And that the best things in life are right in front of you.
To save ourselves from falling into this common trap, it’s important to learn HOW to practice gratitude on a daily basis.
But first, consider the following story…
A wealthy businessman took a vacation to a beautiful greek village.
One night he couldn’t sleep, so he walked the pier and came along a local fisherman. This fisherman had a few large tuna in his boat and was coming in for the day. The businessman wondered why the other man didn’t stay out longer to catch more fish.
So he asked what the fisherman does with his day. The man responded, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife, then stroll into the village to drink wine and play guitar with my friends.”
The businessman laughed and offered to help. He told the fisherman, “you should fish more, use that money to buy a bigger boat, then use that money to invest in a fleet, and eventually create a powerful business empire.”
The fisherman asked, “but sir, how long will this take?”
The businessman responded “15-20 years. 25 years max.”
The fisherman then asked “And what then?”
“Well, sell your company and make millions. Then, retire and move to a small village to sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandchildren, take a nap with your wife, then sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”
Why We Should Be Grateful
As you likely noticed, the businessman was only encouraging the village man to put off enjoying life. The fisherman also illustrates to us that happiness is not rooted in money or power, as many believe.
And that’s where gratitude makes it’s breathtaking debut.
Aside from this story, the science on gratitude is clear. If you want to be happy, be grateful. Those that are grateful on a consistent basis see overwhelming mental and physical benefits.
One study even shows that those who practice gratitude for just three weeks experience better immune systems, more joy, lower blood pressure, better sleep, more optimism, and MORE (source).
Ok, ok, we get it! But how do you practice gratitude in a way that works for you?
21 Gratitude Practice Ideas
Here are 21 gratitude examples to add a profound happiness boost to your day. Try one or two today and see what fits well with your lifestyle.
1. A Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is the most obvious and easy way to fit gratitude into your daily routine. Number a blank journal yourself or check out a journal that already has spots for your daily gratitude. Then, get busy!
Related Post: How to Start a Life-Changing Journal
2. Take a Walk
Go for a regular stroll and pay attention to the beauty around you.
For this time, put your phone away and notice what you love about your surroundings instead. Point them out to a partner if you’re walking with someone.
3. Try a Gratitude Meditation
Just as meditation helps relieve stress and improve focus, it can also encourage us to be more grateful for what we have.
Many meditation apps have courses on this, or check out this guided meditation video!
Related Post: How to Meditate for Peace (Apps & Tips for Beginners)
4. Do a Bedtime Gratitude
As part of your bedtime routine, think about three amazing things that happened in your day today. Write them down or tell them to your partner for even stronger effects.
5. A Gratitude Jar
Next, sit a jar on your dining room table, and have everyone in the family put what they’re grateful for in it each day or week.
Use a simple mason jar or check out this gratitude jar specifically designed to inspire beautiful gratitudes.
6. Pause Before Meals
Create a simple prayer or saying to remind yourselves to be thankful for the food your body needs.
Here’s a simple one to try:
“Lord, thank you for the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us.”
7. Write a Love Letter
Give out love letters or thank you cards to those in your life that have made you who you are today.
8. Think Outside the Box
Often, we get bored with gratitude because we’re re-playing the same items. Find different things to be grateful for like an obstacle to overcome, learning, or something you gave someone.
9. Thank an Action
A simple thank you to your husband, kids, or the mail man when they do something for you is an easy way to practice gratitude.
Have you thanked anyone today?
10. Try the Gratitude Alphabet
At the dinner table, go through the alphabet using each letter as the first sound for something you’re grateful for. This is a great way to make practicing gratitude a family affair.
11. Use Social Media
While social media has it’s downsides, it can also be used as a sensational accountability tool. Share something you’re grateful for on social media, or announce a thirty day challenge to post something you’re grateful for every day.
12. Create Visual Cues
It’s not always top of the mind to be grateful, so solve that with visual cues and reminders. Write quotes on your bathroom mirrors or set reminders on your phone to take a breath and notice the beauty around you.
13. Make a Gratitude List
Like the gratitude journal, one large list is a great way for you to visually see the great things going on in your life. Add to your list every single day, and you’ll be forced to get creative so you don’t repeat.
14. Share One Thing Daily
Another easy activity for the family! Make a dinnertime ritual for everyone to say one thing they’re thankful for from the day. This can also be incorporated into a bedtime routine with kids.
15. Call Someone You Love
Touch base with someone who has been there for you and check-in with them.
16. Use Holidays
Sometimes, it’s uncomfortable to say thank you to someone out of the blue.
In that case, use holidays to make it easier. Tell your family how grateful you are at Thanksgiving, your spouse the same at Valentine’s Day, and your parents on Mother’s & Father’s Day.
17. Acknowledge Someone in Public
Gratitude does not need to be private. If someone has done something that warrants recognition, acknowledge their efforts in front of others. It will make you both feel good.
18. Remind Yourself of What You’ve Been Through
Recently, I came across a card I sent to my (then) boyfriend long ago. In the note, I expressed how excited I was to wake up next to him after three years of a long-distance relationship. Three kids and twelve years later, I realized that I now completely take this for granted. This man is my life, and it’s a beautiful reminder that it wasn’t always easy to be together.
What have you endured? Or overcome?
Many things that are difficult in the moment heighten the beauty of life, if we only stop to look.
19. Show Gratitude for a Service or Product
Do you love the new book you read? Or regularly enjoy someone’s teachings? Let them know! Leave a comment or send a note telling them how grateful you are.
20. Replace Your Negative Thoughts
It’s shocking how much negativity we let pass through our heads unnoticed. Work hard for one week to actively replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Often, these new positive thoughts can be in the form of gratitude.
You’ll also likely find that these substitutions dramatically cut down on the urge to complain!
21. If You’re a Parent, Remember This…
Better yet, use tip #12 and post this somewhere in your house as a visual reminder. We all need them!
Additional Tips to Make Gratitude Work
Furthermore, here are three tips to make your new amazing gratitude habits stick for good.
Make it a Regular Routine
It’s drastically easier to start and keep a gratitude practice if you incorporate it into a routine that you already have. Many of the above activities can be part of your morning, dinner, or bedtime routine.
Now, don’t forget! Set reminders on your phone, leave a sticky note on the table, or set your journal out where you’ll see it.
Do it Your Way
Next, we all learn and relate to the world in different ways. Maybe you love writing your gratitudes. Or perhaps contemplating quietly is your thing.
There is no right or wrong way to do it!
Experiment, and try out what works for you. Stay consistent, and let go of whether “you’re doing it right.”
Mix it Up
Finally, we all occasionally get bored with the same thing over and over. So, every once in a while, switch up what you do. If your gratitude journal feels stale, try a love letter or adding gratitude into your family dinner.
Something to Consider With Gratitude Practices
Again, hustle is a good thing. But don’t let it blind you from the good that can be found right in front of you.
If you only focus on the work of daily life, you may find one day that you missed out on the simple pleasures that make life grand.
How do you practice gratitude? Have you found an action that is right for you?
Other happiness posts to enjoy…
- How to Become a More Playful Mom
- 27 Beautiful Affirmations for Women
- 9 Ways to Instantly Create More Happiness