How to have gratitude
3 Ways to Practice Gratitude (for Teens)
Reviewed by: KidsHealth Behavioral Health Experts
en español Tres formas de mostrar gratitud
Everyone can benefit from making an effort to practice gratitude every day. These 3 steps can help you start feeling more grateful, and appreciative of the good things in your life:
- Notice good things, look for them, appreciate them.
- Savor, absorb, and really pay attention to those good things.
- Express your gratitude to yourself, write it down, or thank someone.
Notice the Good Things in Your Life
Start to notice and identify the things you are grateful for. Tune in to the small everyday details of your life and notice the good things you might sometimes take for granted.
Try these ideas:
- Each day, think of 3 things you are grateful for. Nature. People. Community. Shelter. Creature comforts like a warm bed or a good meal. It's amazing what you notice when you focus on feeling grateful.
- Start a gratitude journal. Making a commitment to writing down good things each day makes it more likely that we will notice good things as they happen.
- Practice gratitude rituals. Some people say grace before a meal. Pausing in gratitude before eating doesn't have to be religious. It's a simple habit that helps us notice and appreciate the blessing of food on the table.
Once you're aware of the blessings of everyday life, the next step is to savor them.
Savor the Feeling of Gratitude
There are moments when you naturally, right then and there, feel filled with gratitude. These are moments when you say to yourself, "Oh, wow, this is amazing!" or "How great is this!"
Pause. Notice and absorb that feeling of true, genuine gratitude. Let it sink in. Soak it up. Savor your blessings in the moment they happen.
Expressing gratitude is more than courtesy, manners, or being polite. It's about showing your heartfelt appreciation. When you thank someone, you're also practicing the first two gratitude skills: you've noticed something good, and you've genuinely appreciated it.
- Show your appreciation to someone who did something nice. Say: "It was really kind of you to…," "It really helped me out when you…," "You did me a big favor when…," "Thank you for listening when…," "I really appreciated it when you taught me…," or "Thank you for being there when…." You also can write your gratitude in a letter.
- Express gratitude by doing a kindness. Gratitude might inspire you to return a favor, or act with kindness or thoughtfulness. Or you might see a situation when you can "pay it forward." Hold the door open for the person behind you, even if it means waiting a little longer than you normally would. Do someone else's chores without letting the person find out it was you. Notice how you feel afterward!
- Tell the people in your life how you feel, what they mean to you. You don't have to be mushy or over-the-top. We all have our own style. But if you say what you feel in the right tone at the right moment, even a simple, "Mom, good dinner. Thanks!" means a lot.
True gratitude doesn't leave you feeling like you owe other people something — after all, if you've done someone a favor, you probably don't want the person to feel like you expect something back in return. It's all about feeling good and creating a cycle of good.
Reviewed by: KidsHealth Behavioral Health Experts
10 Ways to Become More GratefulScroll To Top Robert Emmons offers everyday tips for living a life of gratitude. By Robert Emmons | November 17, 2010
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.
2. Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.
3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”Advertisement X
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4. Learn Prayers of Gratitude. In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer, because through these prayers people recognize the ultimate source of all they are and all they will ever be.
5. Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift.
6. Use Visual Reminders. Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often times, the best visual reminders are other people.
7. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude vow, which could be as simple as “I vow to count my blessings each day,” and post it somewhere where you will be reminded of it every day.
8. Watch your Language. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf.
9. Go Through the Motions. If you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.
10. Think Outside the Box. If you want to make the most out of opportunities to flex your gratitude muscles, you must creatively look for new situations and circumstances in which to feel grateful.
Image ©Greg Sargent
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