Personal Growth

How to Establish a Daily Gratitude Practice

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It seems that the word “gratitude” has become a buzzword these days, trendy even. Everyone seems to be talking about it and telling you that in order to find true happiness and be truly fulfilled, you need to have a daily gratitude practice.

And they’re not wrong. But you may find yourself asking, “What’s the right way to express gratitude? Isn’t saying ‘thank you’ enough?”

Well, I’m here to break it down for you and teach you how to use this simple practice to find more happiness and greater well being.

But before I get to that, I want to tell you a little bit about what having a gratitude practice can actually do for you.

Benefits of Having a Gratitude Practice

You’ve most likely heard that having a daily gratitude practice is beneficial. 

And truth be told, the benefits of having a grateful attitude or for expressing gratitude for the many blessings in your life are far reaching. 

I can tell you from personal experience that having a gratitude practice can enhance your life in ways that you probably never considered. I know my life is better for it. 

So here are just a few ways that implementing a gratitude practice can enhance your life:

Improves Physical Health

Gratitude has been shown to improve your physical health. This means that you are more likely to take care of yourself if you have a grateful attitude. So, if you’ve been struggling to move yo’self, maybe adopting a gratitude practice is what you’ve been missing.

Improves Relationships

Having a daily gratitude practice can improve existing relationships and encourages new relationships. When you focus on what you’re grateful for, or the positives in a relationship, you are less likely to focus on the negative. 

What you focus on persists, whether it’s negative or positive. So, if you’ve found yourself in a little bit of a romantic rut lately, try focusing on the positive attributes of your partner.

Establishing a gratitude practice can enhance your relationships.

Improves Psychological Well Being

Being grateful can improve your psychological well being and has actually been shown to increase empathy. And as Douglas Woods so eloquently puts it, “The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.”

Improves Sleep and Lowers Stress

By implementing a daily gratitude practice, you can lower your stress levels and improve sleep. Both of these are crucial for so many healthy bodily functions, weight loss/management being at the top.

I don’t know about you, but those are some pretty amazing benefits, and if all I have to do is show some gratitude? Well, sign me up. 

And just a little side note…in all of my reading over the last several years about the effects of establishing a gratitude practice, no where have I read anything negative. Not once. 

How to Establish a Gratitude Practice that Actually Works

So how does this actually work? You may be wondering, “How the heck do I even start a gratitude practice?”

Well, I’m so glad you asked. It’s actually really simple.

There are numerous ways that people suggest doing this. And I’ve tried quite a few myself. 

The most common, at least from what I’ve read over the past several years, is to express gratitude for 3-5 things everyday. Maybe you’ve tried this yourself?

Basically make a list. 

Yeah, I’ve done that. A few times. And I’ve never felt any different. 

It’s not enough to just make a list of things we’re grateful for and call it a day. I don’t know about you, but when I did this I found myself basically listing pretty much the same things everyday. 

“I’m grateful for my friends, my family, my cat, and my car. Blah, Blah, Blah.” There. Done. Gratitude expressed.

Sound familiar?

Get Specific and Feel Grateful

It wasn’t until I started getting really specific and detailed with my gratitude AND started focusing on the feelings associated with whatever I was expressing gratitude for that things finally changed.

I finally got it. 

And I started to feel it. 

Grateful, I mean.

Let me explain.

When you express gratitude for something, try closing your eyes and picturing that something. 

For example, if you want to express gratitude for your best friend, close your eyes and think of her. Picture a time when she did or said something that made you feel good, a time when you felt supported and loved by her. Go back to that very moment and relive it. Tap into those feelings associated with the memory.

Do you get all the feels when you do this? Good. That, my friend, is gratitude. 

Gratitude Isn’t Just for People

You don’t have to focus your gratitude practice on just people either. You can be grateful for anything. 

I have expressed gratitude for hot showers, chapstick, indoor plumbing, clean sheets, chocolate covered espresso beans, and mascara. Oh, and red wine. I’m always grateful for a good red. 

Y’all, I’m seriously grateful for all of those things. 

And no, it’s not materialistic or shallow to express gratitude for inanimate objects. We have so much abundance around us. Expressing gratitude for these things only makes us more aware that we have so much to be grateful for. 

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Gratitude Journal

If you journal, or you’ve been wanting to start journaling, this is a great thing to add to your daily entry. It doesn’t take long at all and can encourage you to be a little more intentional with your gratitude practice.

You don’t necessarily have to express your gratitude in written form, but it is helpful. Writing not only slows you down, but you are also around 42% more likely to remember something if it’s written. 

And if you find yourself in a little bit of a slump or you’re just plain grumpy, rereading your gratitude journal is a great way to lift your spirits. 

Journaling Supplies…Because They Matter

This might be the paper snob in me, but I’m super picky about my journals and planners. And I find that if you have journaling supplies that are cute and of great quality you’ll be more likely to pick up that pen and start expressing some gratitude.

I’ve used a million different journals, and these are, by far, my favorite. I love how they lay flat and they aren’t too thick so that your hand does that weird thing when you write towards the bottom of the page. Plus, they have minimal ghosting (where the ink bleeds through the page) so you can write on the front and the back of the page.

If you’re in the market for some new, cool pens (because when are we not in the market for those) to go with your awesome new journal, I recommend these or these (I honestly love and use them both). Journaling with different colors just adds a little something extra (a small tribute to Elle Woods) and you can’t beat the quality.

If you’re new to this, or maybe you’re trying again, I would suggest using the above technique to express gratitude once a day for seven days and then evaluate how you feel. Are you seeing any of those amazing benefits we talked about earlier? Are you becoming more aware of the many blessings in your life?

Let me know if you’ve done this and, if so, how it’s worked out for you. 

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  1. […] wrote this blog post about how establishing a daily gratitude practice can help improve your sleep. Check it out and […]

  2. […] I have found so much value in adding this ritual to my morning routine (you can read the full post here). There are so many benefits to establishing a daily gratitude practice and it’s so simple to […]

  3. […] to establish a gratitude practice of your own but aren’t sure where to start, check out this blog post to help you get […]

  4. […] How to Establish a Daily Gratitude Practice […]

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I’m Jessica! Just another health coach promising that I’m the one you need to find yourself to health… except, not really. I can’t promise anything but I will tell you one thing — you made it here for a reason and you owe it to yourself to determine whether or not a coaching experience is what you need to get back to a feel-good place for you. This site is your place to decide. I, of course, hope to hear from you and would LOVE to get the chance to potentially work with you!

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Once Diet-Obsessed Amateur Turned Empowering Health and Mindset Coach

Hi! I’m Jessica.


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