Gratitude changes everything word written on wood block

Creating a Gratitude Practice to Become a Better Human

It’s Thanksgiving dinner, and before the turkey hits your plate, your ten-year-old niece says, “Let’s go around the table and say what each of us is thankful for this year.”

You’ve been waiting all day for this moment and are annoyed that someone had the nerve to interrupt your feast. You’re starving, and after a short roll of your eyes, you begin searching your mind for something to say when it’s your turn.

Cousin Jimmy says, “I’m thankful for my family and this food,” and you think, “damn it, that’s what I was going to say.” What else? Hurry up! It’s almost your turn.

A​s you quickly sift through your mental Rolodex of the past year, you begin remembering all the good things that happened. Wow! There were more than you thought. It was a pretty good year.

A smile emerges on your face, and you tell the people around you how much you love and appreciate them. You feel better, lighter, and less stressed for a moment and think, “Maybe I should do this gratitude thing more often.”

Yeah, you should!

Sure, a gratitude practice may be a bit woo-woo for some of you, but studies repeatedly show that people who focus on gratitude are happier, report greater satisfaction with life, handle stress better, and are less materialistic. Does that sound like you?

Adopting a gratitude practice also results in a 10% reduction in stress-related illnesses and a 12% drop in blood pressure.

W​hat else do you need to know? Gratitude is the way to happiness, stress relief, and becoming a better human in general.

W​hat is gratitude?

According to Webster’s dictionary, gratitude is the state of being grateful.

Gratitude means different things to different people but generally means showing appreciation or thanks for something or someone.

A​ gratitude practice is recognizing the positive aspects of your life and noticing their effects.

Whether it’s seeing the beauty in nature, giving thanks for our health, or appreciating our relationships, everybody practices gratitude in their own way.

Gratitude is not one size fits all. It can be a gesture, thought, or emotion.

Whatever gives you a positive feeling towards others and yourself is gratitude.

S​o, how can you practice gratitude?

  • S​tart a gratitude journal and write three things you’re thankful for daily.
  • Try to smile more often.
  • Talk to your children and spouse more openly.
  • T​ell those close to you that you love and appreciate them.
  • S​top watching all the negativity on the news.
  • Cook for people.
  • Aim for at least one act of kindness daily.
  • Offer recognition to those who deserve it.
  • B​e present and stop worrying about the past or the future.
  • G​row and learn from your mistakes.
  • R​each out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  • D​o something nice for a neighbor.
  • S​ay thank you to the people who serve you.

Showing gratitude is not difficult, yet so many people look for the negative instead of the positive in their daily interactions. Gratitude is simply an adjustment to your mindset.


E​volution programmed our brains for loss aversion. Loss aversion is a cognitive bias making the pain of losing psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of winning. For this reason, we tend to focus twice as much on the negative aspects of our lives than the positive.

Once you get stuck in a negative mindset, you attract more negativity to your life. It’s a nasty cycle that feeds itself as you see more negatives in the world and ignore the good things surrounding us all.

T​hat is why a gratitude practice must be the intentional shift of your mindset from negative to positive.


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein


O​f course, bad things happen to everyone but how you view the difficulties makes all the difference in the world.

W​hat are you grateful for today?


Take care, even down there.

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