How to Be Grateful: 3 Simple Tips for Practicing Gratitude

Personal Growth | 8 Comments
How to Be Grateful

Gratitude is one of life’s unique mysteries.

As children, our parents constantly reminded us to be grateful, whether it was for the food on the table that we were praying we wouldn’t have to eat, or for the roof over our heads.

When we grew up and had children of our own, we did the same.

We value gratitude so highly because we know that people who don’t express it put a major limit on their potential.

If you aren’t grateful:

  • No one will want to give you a promotion.
  • No one will recommend you for that amazing job.
  • No one will want to follow your lead.

People who practice gratitude, on the other hand, have an incredible amount of influence and success.

This is universally agreed upon, yet—if we’re being honest—very few people actually know how to be grateful.

Why? Because practicing gratitude often involves going against the very feelings and emotions we experience on a daily basis.

We know it’s what we’re supposed to do, but it feels unnatural.

Especially if things aren’t going your way.

In the middle of a tough moment, all you want to do is pull your hair out, tell someone how they wronged you, or break down and cry.

To feel that way is to be human.

Fortunately, there are specific things you can do to train your mind to be grateful that go beyond simply telling yourself you should be more grateful.

If you want to really understand how to be grateful, these give you a solid foundation upon which to build.

3 Tips for Learning How to Be Grateful

1. Understand that you can choose to be grateful

You and I were made with a will that is stronger than our emotions—that means we have the power to change our emotions, feelings, perceptions, and point of view.

If that sounds silly to you, think about this…

What do you do when you’re having an unpleasant conversation at home and the phone suddenly rings?

You answer with a calm and collected “Hello!”.

That’s because you and I can choose how we act despite how we feel.

How to Be Grateful

The best part? Eventually, our feelings start to follow our actions.

If I’m sad and decide to watch mindless TV while eating a gallon of ice cream, I’ll feel worse—but if I’m sad and decide to turn on happy music or count my blessings, I’ll feel better.

It may not happen immediately, but with practice, you can train your feelings to follow your actions.

2. Look for reasons to love your problems

If you live in America, have a job, and are reading this blog post on a computer, cell phone, or tablet right now, the majority of your problems are most likely not as serious as you think they are.

In fact, many of the problems we face are just signs of the blessings we’ve experienced! Think about it…

  • If your muscles ache at the end of a long day at work, that means you’re able to move, lift, and carry things—abilities that hundreds of thousands of people would love to have. It also means you’re employed.
  • If something is wrong with your house and needs to be fixed, that means you have a roof over your head.
  • If you’re feeling unfulfilled at work or in life, that means you’re aware that you have a much larger purpose, and a tremendous opportunity to fulfill it.

So next time you get bent out of shape about something (because we all do), take a deep breath and be thankful for what you do have and what is going right.

Stop, take a breath, and write your blessings down if you need to! When you look, you will find them.

3. Don’t keep it to yourself—share gratitude with others

Changing your feelings by practicing gratitude becomes even easier if you start using gratitude to help others change the way they feel, too.

How to Be Grateful

Everyone longs for appreciation, and tons of people do great work that goes unnoticed. You can be the person who notices them and gives them the appreciation they deserve.

Opportunities for expressing gratitude are all around you, hidden in life’s everyday moments:

  • Let the cashier at the grocery store know you appreciate his speedy service.
  • Text your mom and let her know you’re grateful for the way she raised you.
  • Leave a note of appreciation for the crew that cleans your office. Point out something specific you’ve noticed they do extremely well, even if it seems small.

Gratitude is contagious. When you give it to others, your feelings can’t help but get caught up in the action.

Knowing How to Be Grateful Is Vital to Success

Remember, being grateful takes practice and consistent action. It’s something we should never stop learning how to do.

When you start each day with a commitment to that practice, I promise you will start seeing the world in a new light.

People will want to be around you. And if you are someone people love being around, great things happen.

You’ve heard the saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

In this case, those “boats” are all the details of your life—your relationships, goals, work performance, and interactions—and gratitude is the “rising tide”—it helps you take all of them to the next level.

Question: What is one thing you will do today to practice gratitude? Leave a comment below and let me know!


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  • Holly Lasky

    I’m choosing to be thankful. Even in the midst of financial stress, my husband’s illness and a whole myriad of things going wrong I have a loving husband, a wonderful daughter, my health has transformed (down 100 pounds so far) and a roof over our heads. There is one more thing I would add- God calls us to choose to be grateful IN ADVANCE of what will be.

  • opus88

    I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but this year a resolution chose me a little early: I am focusing on gratitude. Not just to say it, but feel it. I’ve been feeling like a victim of our life circumstances over the past several years. I’m thankful that outlook has been gradually shifting for a few months (thanks to God, angels and humans), but I know making gratitude a conscious thing will keep me from sliding back down that hole and allow me to live in sunshine again. Thanks, Andy, for this reminder!

  • Zoraida Salinas De King

    I will openly thank my entire staff for working so diligently and with dedication despite the fact that the office Is closing an our employment is imminently uncertain. We have jobs today and are learning new skills everyday with the new owners! Lets Celebrate!

  • Pat

    My son has developmental disabilities so I will continue to thank his staff every chance I get because I know that they treat him better when I appreciate what they do for him. I will continue to also thank my son when he does what he knows he needs to do without reminders from staff. I learned a long time ago when I was working as a Volunteer Director that people will do the most difficult jobs with joy if they know they are appreciated.

  • andygart

    I’m going to write a hand-written thank you note to the woman who gave my wife and me a cake today as a belated Christmas gift.

  • Lynelle Watford

    My one thing is to write a thank you note to my husband for caring for me in the last 24 hours as I got sick to my stomach and fainted. He rescheduled his work to make sure I was better and brought supplies to my bed since I was too sick to be up for about 2 minutes at a time.
    The next is to thank you, Andy, because you have often spoken wisdom into my life through your books, blog, and podcast. I am a better person because you share your unique perspectives.
    Interestingly, gratitude was my goal for 2016. Last year I learned to replace the complaining, comparing, and coveting thoughts with scripture (wrote about it in my book Soul Pursuit), which is a step in the right direction. However, I feel I have a ways to go, so my goal for 2017 is to be a more giving person. My quest is to find out how I can do that and this is one way–thank someone who doesn’t expect it.

  • Linda Shafer Mehrmann

    Today I will write a hand written letter to my grandson & his cousins who are home schooled. We hung out at Christmas, played cards, talked about all sorts of things. I encouraged them to write letters to their Grand parents & friends.

  • Marcos R Espinosa

    Grateful for this post. Thank you Andrew. Thanks to Mark Januszewski who got me started with writing each day 3 index cards, one for each thing I am thankful for. There has to be a good reason why the bible says to give thanks in all things.

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