A Short List of Life-Changing Gratitude Practices


1. Say “thank you.”

Say it when you wake up in the morning. Say it when you open your eyes. Say it when you stretch your limbs as you get out of bed. Say it as you’re able to walk down the stairs with ease. When a stranger holds a door open for you, I hope you say, “thank you.” When your loved ones do the same thing, I hope you say it, too. Say “thank you” when someone you love gives you a gift that they hope will make you happy. Say it when they give you words of affirmation, too. Give thanks for work that makes your heart happy and people who make your life full. Do not keep words of gratitude locked in your mouth — say them, share them.

2. Pay it forward to the world and the people around you.

Go outside. Stare at the sky. Feel the sun beat upon your skin. Remember that sunshine is a gift. Moonlight is, too. The earth on which you stand is precious — do one tiny thing each day to make sure she still spins. Switch your plastic grocery bags to cloth ones and bring that reusable mug to your coffee shop every morning. When you’re at that coffee shop, consider paying for the patron who’s waiting in line behind you. It’ll probably make their day. Smile at the barista. Give them a tip if you are financially able to, even if it’s a small one. It’s easy to think that little things are insignificant, but they’re not. Little acts of kindness are the sparks that ignite tidal waves of change.

3. Write down what you’re grateful for every day.

What are you grateful for? Is it your family? Is it your marriage? Your partnership? Your children? Your friends? Are you grateful that you can pay your bills and fill your fridge with food that fuels your body? Are you grateful for clean water and clean air? Are you grateful to be living in the country where you reside? The city where you reside? The town where you reside? Are you grateful for music that soothes your soul? Books that feel like friends? Art that keeps you excited about living? Whatever it is, write it down. It’s okay if it changes, and it’s okay if it grows, too. But write it down. See it in black and white ink. Watch it glow on your computer screen. Paint it, if that’s your thing. Let your gratitude for the tiny things and the big things in your life live in words.