Easy ways to incorporate gratitude into your life

Research has proven the benefits of gratitude – everything from improved health and happiness, to strengthened relationships and enhanced workplace culture. While there are countless ways to practise gratitude, often clients get overwhelmed by where to start.

This fall, pick three from the list below to try. Consider practising one every day, one each week and one per month. You might be surprised by how these small acts can make a big impact.

Ways to practise gratitude

Keep a journal. Write down what you’re thankful for. Be as specific as possible. For example, rather than saying, “My family”, explore what particularly about your family makes you feel grateful.

Express your thanks. Tell people how appreciative you are to have them in your life. Again, try to be specific. You can do this in person, over email or text, or by sending a handwritten letter.

Pay more compliments. It’s nice to hear compliments about your appearance, but try complimenting someone on their abilities, how they relate to others, or how they handled a situation. Go a little deeper.

Find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Often, we rush through our day and take much for granted. Pull over for a minute and take in that sunrise on the way to work. Watch your kids playing in the backyard. Savour the feel of your partner’s hand in yours.

Give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge someone’s great work or the fact they went the extra mile – whether at home or the office.

Notice subtle changes in those you care for. Does one of your co-workers seem down? Your child more distracted than usual? Your spouse withdrawn? Pay closer attention to how people in your life are behaving – and consider how you might be able to respond.

Celebrate milestones – large and small. Acknowledging birthdays can be just as meaningful as remembering people’s work anniversaries, kid’s graduation, or marking the end of a project.

Recognize those in service to others. Whenever possible, thank those who protect, care for and serve the community – from local firefighters or members of the armed forces, to the person who delivers your mail or cleans your work space.

Do random acts of kindness. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a ton of fabulous ideas on its website. These acts can make people feel seen and appreciated. Guaranteed you’ll feel pretty good too!

Make quality time. The best gift you can give others is your presence. Carve out a little extra time in your day for those you love.

Be mindful of how often you complain, compare or gossip. All three of these behaviours can have harmful, long-term effects on you and others. Speak more kindly.

Get out in nature. Show appreciation for the earth that sustains us. Take a walk. Dangle your feet over the edge of a dock. Stare up at the stars. Explore somewhere new.

Be self-compassionate. Extend love to yourself. Treat yourself as though you would a close friend.

If you want to dig deeper into the science behind gratitude, read a fascinating white paper by Summer Allen at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley or check out this article.

You can also book an appointment with Jennifer.