Practical Gratitude



Being grateful is not just saying the words ‘thank you’ but encompasses so many other things. Being grateful is not just wishful thinking but has real consequences when put into practice every day.

Gratitude is not just a case of saying it or thinking it, but by taking actions to cultivate the feeling. It is a necessary habit you must adopt in order to live an amazing life.

Here is my previous post on why I believe gratitude is so important, and the changes so amazing and profound

It is a habit of ours to be negative constantly, to give in to believing our inner critic and old habits die hard. It is easy to be negative. Being positive takes real strength. It takes around 67 days, two months, to form a lasting habit, to change the hard-wired programming of your mind. So don’t expect to change your negative thoughts into positive, grateful ones quickly or easily. Change is a slow progress.

You must persevere to express gratitude in order to change the story your inner voice is telling you. Give thanks every single day. With time, things will begin to change and amazing things will begin to happen to you.


Here are some ways of practising gratitude:

  • Keep a gratitude journal.

Write down all the things you are thankful, grateful for that day (to make it more relevant) – the things that went well, the things that made you happy; just before you go to bed. It is important that you do this every night. The time just before you go to bed is when your subconscious is in susceptible state to re-programming and being influenced.

Be grateful, positive and focus on your strengths and achievements, and all the good things right now in your life so that you make conscious room for more good things to enter into your life. Focus on the positive.


  • Alphabet gratitude.

For each letter of the alphabet, A to Z, list positive characteristics the person you want to express gratitude for. This could be some one you are truly grateful for but feel you don’t appreciate enough, or for someone you want a better relationship with.

You don’t have to show them if you don’t want to, this is more for yourself. But it will change the way you are when you are around them and your relationship overall.


  • Say thank you. Say thank you aloud to people and in your mind.

Nurture an attitude of gratitude for all those who serve you, contribute to improving your life whether it be the barista who just served you coffee to your loved ones who support you.

Never take anyone or anything for granted. Life is finite and precious.


  • Compare yourself to you.

When we don’t do as well as we wanted, are not where we want to be – where we think we should be; being our own best worst critic, we beat ourselves up about it. At times like these just remember how you have changed and grown on your journey, and remember that even failure is moving forward. Failure means you have tried and you have taken action to achieve your goals. So you should give yourself credit for that.

You must have compassion for yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people and their successes and joys, you don’t know their trials and tribulations. Compare yourself to your old self to see how far you have come. You are the only fair comparison of yourself.

Remember it is not always the results that are important, but your efforts and journey that develop you most as a person.

If you are going through a bad time, have self-compassion too and comfort in knowing this too shall pass.


  • Make peace with a difficult situation, with your past.

When you’re going through a tough time, really think about how the situation is helping you to grow. See the bigger picture. What can you learn from it?

Although it can be really difficult to find anything good in something that is causing you pain, you must have humility and see beyond temporary pain. Pain doesn’t last forever. Keep going through the pain. Through pain, we grow. Success is just at the other end.


  • Make peace with those who have hurt you, wronged you.

Forgive them. Thank them for the good things they have done for you and for the lessons they have taught you. Everyone we come across in our lives has something to teach us.

Life is too short to put our energy into the negative thoughts and feelings that do not serve us well. Forgive, let go and find peace.


  • Give.

Learn to give kindness, gratitude and love to others. Do something nice for a stranger, for the ones you love to show your appreciation. It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive, you just have to mean well. A small act of kindness can really brighten someone’s day. Like they say, it’s the thought that counts.

It is in giving that we can experience the most joy in our lives. When we are able to freely give to others without expecting something in return, we become open to and do astonishingly, receive more.


Accept and be grateful for where you are right now in your life, even if it’s not exactly where you want to be – even if it’s far from it.

Take solace in realising that where you are is not where you will be. It is only by being grateful and accepting where you are now that you can move forward with your life, as Carl Rogers put it perfectly– “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

When you acknowledge how grateful you feel, in essence you accept and allow good things to come into your life, believing that you deserve them. And this is why good things will flow into your life and be bought into fruition. Life is what you make of it. 


All content and photos are my own and subject to copyright. 


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