Six Easy Steps To Celebrate Gratitude

Being thankful and acknowledging our privilege is an excellent starting point to feeling grateful, which studies show leads to greater happiness. Thanksgiving is full of reminders to help us show and share our thankfulness, but we like to keep the gratitude going all year long. Here are 6 things you can start today:

1. Take A Gratitude Walk

The natural world is full of wonder, but we sometimes need a gentle reminder to slow down and experience it without distraction. Unlike a podcast driven power walk, a gratitude walk is simply a wander out in nature or your own neighborhood. Pay attention to what you see, smell and hear. Take your time, be open and curious, and just notice anything you find interesting or beautiful. Nothing else is required. Enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the destination. 

2. Set The Table Together

Quality, not quantity is the key to memorable family mealtimes. Children’s activities, work deadlines, traffic jams, doctor’s appointments, and a thousand interruptions can interfere. Instead of feeling guilty about not spending 7 nights a week holding hands at the dinner table, choose to be grateful for the 1-2 nights a week when you can all be together, without devices or distractions. Have one family member help you set the table so you can chat one on one without an agenda, and save a moment at the beginning of the meal where each and every person seated gets a moment to shine and share the best part of their day.  

3. Reverse Your Bucket List

A bucket list is literally a catalog of all the things you want to do in life before you, ahem, kick the bucket. Since you’re alive and kicking now, turn your attention to the rearview mirror and take a moment to write down a few things you have already accomplished. Relive the joy of those moments and take pleasure in remembering them. Maybe it’s time to reach out and say hello to your younger self. Think about what brought you joy in the past - was it a hobby or vacation or simply the pleasure of feeling free to try something new?

4. Jot it Down in a Journal

An oldie but a goodie. Dreaming of the future, detailing small worries, and making lists of things to do (or things you never want to do again) is a great way to let your mind overflow with feelings that you might suppress throughout your busy day. There’s no right or wrong way to do a gratitude journal, but if you’d like to begin or need to refresh one you’ve already started, try these prompts:

  • List 5 things you’ve appreciated in the last 5 days
  • Think of 4 things you like about yourself
  • Name 3 friends that make you laugh
  • Write the 2 things you love most about your pet
  • Think of 1 failure, mistake, or missed opportunity from your past that has led to something wonderful in your present. 

5. Say Hello, Stranger

Take the time to compliment someone. It’s easy to tell a stranger you like their haircut or cute new shoes, and it just might make their day. To really practice gratitude, take it to the next level when you’re feeling frustrated. Instead of letting your anger escalate, take 3 deep breaths and come up with a way that you can brighten someone else’s day instead of ruining your own.  Waiting too long for an inexperienced waitress? Ask her how her day is going and find one thing that’s working well to thank her for. Slow line at the supermarket? Make eye contact with the cashier and say thanks for bagging your items nicely or for helping you get dinner on the table.

6. Just Show Up

Don’t overthink it; gratitude doesn’t ask for perfection, just acknowledgement. 

Volunteer to do the chore nobody wants to do, just because you can. Or volunteer to help with a singular, special event sponsored by an organization that has values that are important to you. Listen to a long-winded friend, and be curious and open instead of wondering when it’s your turn to talk. Go to a work meeting and give the speaker your full attention. Call your mom. Return that overdue library book you really enjoyed. Write a handwritten note to an old friend. Just show up. And say thank you. 

Are you looking for more happiness in your life? Or perhaps, more gratitude from those you love? Lifeologie Counseling can help you find ways to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Meet our many specialists at and find out which therapists practice in your community.

About Lifeologie

Lifeologie Counseling was founded in 2000 with one goal in mind — to bring a fresh, innovative approach to the everyday problems of life. Creative solutions to stuck problems®. With our unique multi-specialty, collaborative approach, Lifeologie Counseling helps individuals and families heal their wounds and break out of old, unhealthy patterns.