12 Ways to Deepen Your Gratitude Practice

We all know that gratitude is good for us.

Practicing your appreciation benefits our brain, body, health, relationships, sleep, mood, makes us happier, and so much more! And it’s fun and easy to practice !

I bet for many people what typically comes to mind is to write down 3 things you are grateful for, either as a morning or evening reflection.

While that’s a good practice, there are many ways you can deepen your gratitude practice. For exampe, I invite you to consider one thing you are grateful for and reflect on 3–5 reasons why you are grateful for it. Going into greater depth, rather than focusing on the breadth of why you’re grateful, can help you harness that gratitude, engraining it deeper into your consciousness.

There are endless ways to bring more gratitude into your life, along with all the corresponding practices, such as being more mindful, empathic, compassionate, aware, present, and growing from your life experiences.

In fact, I came up with 365 different ways to practice, in my new book A Year of Gratitude, that officially goes on sale January 19, 2021!!

At first, I was daunted by the task of 365 different ways, but once I got into it, I was surprised to realize that even when I was done, I could have kept writing!

Here’s a list of 12 of my favorite and unique ways you can be more grateful

1. Affirmation: “I am grateful for all the experiences of my life — both good and bad — for they have helped me become the person I am today.” Valuing all your experiences, and what you learned from them, can help you savor the positive moments and accept the challenging ones.

2. Practice Having a Beginner’s Mind — be in the practice of looking around as if for the first time; getting off of autopilot, and of seeing things in the same pattern, will allow you to notice your environment with fresh eyes (and I will bet that it will create a richer, more present, grateful experience).

3. Focus on Your Positive Traits — so many of us to have a harsh inner critic, not only can it be hard to look for the good in ouserlves, there may be a fear that acknowledging what we like about ourselves will feel boastful, bragging or could possibly lead to a big ego. Well, I disagree. If you can’t focus on what you like about yourself, then how will you believe in yourself, and better yet, how will you believe anyone else who praises you? So, go ahead — list out all your favorite traits, unapologetically!

4. Create Gratitude Projects — paint rocks, make a gratitude wall (post sticky notes over a blank wall, filled with messages of gratitude), create a gratitude jar or a gratitude vision board. Making gratitude fun will make it easy to engage it, and a fun way to engage your family members too!

5. Give Back to Others — it makes us feel good to give to others, so look for opportunities to volunteer your time, help someone out who needs support, compliment others on a job well done, say thank you to your baristas by name, acknowledge a stranger passing by (hard to do with Covid, I know…). Looking for ways you can give back and acknowledge others will make you feel good for the authentic connection, as well as knowing how much your effort and attention will be valued by the other person.

6. ABC’s of Gratitude — write out the alphabet and think of something you’re grateful for that starts with every letter. If that feels too daunting, then do all the letters of your name; there is so much to be grateful for — we just have to keep looking for it!

7. Acknowledge Pride for Overcoming Challenges — because of our negativity bias, it is so easy to focus on the negative. So, the next time you are going through a challenge (everyone who made it through 2020 should be raising their hand!), don’t dwell on what was hard — make a conscious choice to focus on the fact not only did you get through it, but acknowledge the resources you utilized to help you along the way.

8. Be Grateful for All the People on Your Path — everyone we encounter (whether we realize it or not) teaches us something and impacts our life. Even if it is a “negative” impact, it still can remind us who we don’t want to be, so be grateful for all those on your path.

9. It Could’ve Been Worse — it’s actually helpful to consider that things did not unfold as bad as they could have. Doing a downward social comparison can help you to be grateful for the way things turned out, even if it is not what you wanted, hoped for or even liked. This can be a powerful and helpful reframe.

10. Embrace Your Uniqueness — it’s so easy to feel like we have to fit it, but the more you embrace your uniqueness as something you are grateful for, the more you’ll feel better about yourself! It’ll then be easier to turn down the volume on your inner critic and turn up the volume on your joy and thanks.

11. “I Get To…” instead of “I Have To…” — I love this one so much — a simple shift in our perspective can change everything for the better. How we view our to-do’s impacts our experience of them. Next time you are tackling your to-do list, try starting off by saying with gratitude, “I get to…” and just notice what changes. Acknowledge your resources, your health, your finances, your body, your brain, your home, your job, your family, etc…for without all those things (and more!) you wouldn’t be able to even have a to-do list.

12. Create Rituals and Traditions — ritual is so powerful, so look for the ways to create tradition into your day, week or month to acknowledge the moment, allowing you to slow down, pause and savor.

If you like this list and want more, then check out the Journey Forward with Joree Rose podcast; in the episdoe I release on Jan. 18 I delve into the above list.

And if you really loved this list of 12 and want even more, then buy the book, A Year of Gratitude!

Joree, a Marriage and Family Therapist, guides people on a Journey Forward to live their best life, through a foundation in mindfulness, meditation and mindset.

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