How To Practice Gratitude – Steps for Powerful Perspective

Gratitude is a positive and rewarding practice that can help not just you but everyone around you.  There are many different ways to express gratitude, and there’s no wrong way to do this.  We’re going to discuss what gratitude looks like as well as the benefits you reap from practicing gratitude in your daily life.

Practicing gratitude is a multifaceted way to demonstrate appreciation.  It looks different to everyone and can be done through reflection, journaling, mindfulness, and your actions.  Benefits include improved mental health, attitude, and self-esteem as well as stronger relationships.

There are so many things in life and work to be grateful for.  You know you’re grateful and appreciative for them, but how do you express that gratitude?  

What Is Practicing Gratitude?

Gratitude is being thankful towards others and returning kindness.  Practicing gratitude means when someone does something for you or supports you in some way, you thank them not just with words but with actions.  You return the favor, so to speak.  But it’s not a one-and-done, it’s a mindset and lifestyle.

Practicing gratitude is focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life. It involves being thankful for the good things, experiences, and people in our lives. By trying to avoid negativing when practicing gratitude, we can often lead more fulfilling and happy lives. Gratitude can be quite a powerful tool.

Give thanks sign - How To Practice Gratitude - Gone Minimal
Give thanks sign

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

There are many benefits to living a life of and practicing gratitude towards others.  Studies have shown that it helps with a more positive attitude, better health, and better skills to deal with adversity.  It also leads to better, stronger relationships with others.  Some other benefits include the following:

  • More empathy
  • Reduced aggression
  • Improved mental health
  • Improved productivity
  • Better self-esteem
  • Greater resilience

So not only can you feel better and be happier, you can change someone else’s day.  So how do we practice gratitude and program it into our day-to-day lives?

How to Practice Gratitude

Start small and pay attention.  It’s not just about saying thank you to someone, but how you say it.  Think about the meaning behind that thank you-what did the other person’s action mean to you?  What kind of affect did it have on you, on your day?  Did it change your attitude or someone else’s?  This can help you identify true gratitude, rather than just a “thank you” in passing.

Some other methods to help you practice gratitude include the following:

  1. Think of how you got here.  Not just the good experiences, but the bad ones.  What challenges did you overcome to get to where you are now?  How did you do it?
  2. Pay attention to how others react when you thank them.  Did their expression or demeanor change?  Do you think they felt valued?  Did you change their day?
  3. Think about your friendships and relationships-what have you done for each other?  How have you made each other’s lives better or more challenging?  How might you make things better for both of you?
  4. Journal your gratitude daily.  What happened today that made you feel good?  What did you receive from others?  Did someone improve your day somehow, or did you change someone’s outlook for the better?
  5. Make sure your actions match your words.  Smile, hug, shake hands, be open and sincere when showing someone your gratitude.
  6. Share your experiences with those around you-example is key to influencing others!
Giving a flower - How To Practice Gratitude - Gone Minimal
Giving a flower

Exercises to Practice Gratitude

Active Gratitude

is about noticing things around you, especially the things you are grateful for, and paying attention to those things.  It includes touching and feeling those items and expressing your gratitude, either verbally or even in writing through journaling or thank-you cards.  This method usually involves multiple senses and can be quite memorable.  

Gratitude Journal

is a wonderful tool to help you identify the things you are grateful for and journaling about what they are and how they made you feel.  This gives you an opportunity to go back and read your entries and reflect on your gratitude. 

You can journal about anything you want-the donut and coffee someone brought you for breakfast, the beautiful hawk that sat on the bench outside of your living room window for several minutes, even the bag of your favorite candy your children surprised you with.  Include the event, who was involved, and how it made you feel.  Try doing this daily and it will help you find more to be grateful for!


involves recalling an event, a memory, or something and considering the positive feelings and emotions related to it.  This can help you truly appreciate things and people to express gratitude, especially for those things and people you can’t be with.  It also help you keep memories “alive” and share them with others-like your children!


is a state of mental awareness that helps you be present in the moment, acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, and focus your attention.  This can be done through guided imagery, focused breathing, and yoga to reduce stress and promote relaxation.  Not only will this help with practicing gratitude, it will help your mental and physical health!

Practicing gratitude means when someone does something for you or supports you in some way, you thank them not just with words but with actions.

Gratitude in All Areas of Life

One can learn to reflect on and appreciate things in all areas of life. When looking, it can be easy to find small, simple things that can bring us joy and reinforce the knowledge and awareness of the great opportunities we have. Let’s explore some of the most common areas.

Gratitude at Work

is much more than that paycheck!  It’s about appreciating the work that you do, your coworkers, your supervisor, and the people you serve.  Find gratefulness in that you have the opportunity to do something you enjoy and love, something you’re good at, and the education and training you underwent helped make it possible.  You can show gratitude to your coworkers by helping them out with a task, buying someone coffee, or sending them a handwritten note.

Gratitude at Home

is important for promoting family togetherness and teamwork, raising considerate and appreciative children, and having a positive and relaxing home environment.  You can show gratitude to loved ones by doing nice things for them, helping out around the house, and actively listening to your children.  Demonstration of gratitude also sets a great example for your children-you can’t go wrong there!

Hands in the shape of a heart around the sun - How To Practice Gratitude - Gone Minimal
Hands in the shape of a heart around the sun

Gratitude in Relationships

is really important to help your partner feel appreciated for the things they do.  Not just telling them you’re appreciative but showing them by opening doors for them, going with them to the store, cooking a special meal or doing the dishes when they cook, and getting the bed ready for them at bedtime.  These practices can also help strengthen your relationships with loved ones.

Gratitude in Challenge and Growth

is about being open to change and new experiences, new positions or projects at work, and learning new things.  You can show your gratitude to your coworkers and supervisors by doing your job well, seeking out new opportunities, and going the extra mile for others.  This can be a challenging one because many fear change-but this is an opportunity for improvement and growth and can bring so many good things!  It may be hard work and may not always work out the way you’d hoped, but it will help you grow professionally.

Practicing gratitude is a multifaceted way to demonstrate appreciation.

Here is an insightful video on how to be grateful in day-to-day living:

Examples of Things to Be Grateful For – From Real People

I asked 5 family/friends what top 4 things they are generally grateful for in life. It can give some incredible perspective into what is truly valuable. Here is what I learned and what they shared:

Area to Be Grateful For# of People
Home/Living arrangements2
Basic needs met2
Kindness of others1
Stable work3

Other Resources:

It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day events that we forget to show our appreciation and gratitude for others and the important things in our lives.  By taking small steps to reflect upon good things, practice mindfulness and actively demonstrate our gratitude for others, we can make a difference in someone else’s life as well as our own.  Get started today with trying one of the methods we discussed to see what works best for you!

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