Gratitude is the practice of intentional appreciation and the recognition of goodness in our lives. In the field of positive psychology research on gratitude has shown strong correlation with greater happiness, feeling more positive emotions, and resilience. Research has also shown that expressing gratitude towards others facilitates strong relationships and can improve relationships facing conflict.

Gratitude is not meant to be a practice of toxic positivity, where one expresses and feels gratitude in an attempt to disconnect from the very real and challenging aspects of life. Gratitude is meant to be a way to appreciate what an individual has in their life rather than focusing on what they think will make them happier in the future. Gratitude is a practice of mindfulness and can be a way to refocus and ground – and like any mindfulness practice, it takes time to develop the skill to a point where it feels natural to access.

There are many ways to practice gratitude to bring it into your daily life. Here are a few ways to consider trying:

  • Meditate. Mindfulness meditation is an incredible way to practice gratitude. As you enter a state of meditation, allow your focus to be on things you are grateful for and the sensations your body experiences as you call these things to mind.
  • Bonus challenge: After you meditate, journal about how it felt to meditate on the things in your life you are grateful for.
  •  Write a thank you note. Take a moment and write a note to someone in your life expressing your gratitude and appreciation for them. This practice will also help strengthen your relationship with this person. If sending a note is not an option, consider sending an email or text.
  • Bonus challenge: Write a thank you note to yourself and place it somewhere you can read it daily. Let this be an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with yourself.
  • Thank someone mentally. Take a moment to think about someone who has done something you have appreciated recently and mentally thank them.
  • Bonus challenge: Set the intention to mentally thank 3 people each day for a week , and try to vary the 3 individuals from day to day.
  • Count your blessings. Take time each week to write about what you feel appreciation for – the things that feel like blessings. You could write for a designated amount of time (for example, write as many things you can think of in 3 minutes) or write a number of items (for example, 5 things you feel grateful for).
  • Bonus challenge: Use this practice to start a gratitude journaling habit.

Gratitude may be something you already practice, or maybe it is a practice you have not taken time to explore. Consider trying some of these practices to express or increase your expression of gratitude.

And in the spirit of gratitude: thank you, reader, for taking the time to read this and any other articles on our blog.

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Katy Kandaris, LPC
Owner & Trauma Therapist

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