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5 Simple ways to Build a Gratitude Habit


Gratitude is an important ingredient in happiness and resilience. Studies show that people who are more grateful are also happier. We know that with a little bit of practice, it's pretty easy to lift your overall sense of gratitude – I've talked about ways to do this in an earlier blog How a Pessimist became Practically Positive. Martin Seligman, the late founder of Positive Psychology recommends the following to help cultivate the feeling of being grateful: for our lives, for our relationships, for what we've overcome.

Even if you're caught up in the midst of the overcoming part, these habits can help give some perspective to what you currently have going for you, the positive things in your life. And I think that when we're in a low spot and feeling least like taking stock, it can be particularly important to do just that. Seligman's four tips:

Keep a Gratitude Diary

This is usually just a running tally of things that someone is grateful for. The biggest advantage of doing this is that it can be viewed later at a time when you're down.

Daily Reflections

This only takes a little investment and gets such quick results. Despite all the promises, their actually aren't a lot of things that can deliver like that. Here's how it works: write three things each day for which you are grateful. That's it. Simple. It works, I've tried it and there are websites that can help make it even easier for you. Try

Write a Gratitude Letter then Visit the Recipient

This one is more involved, but that's part of what makes it so meaningful. Write a short, but detailed letter to someone who has had a meaningful impact in your life. Then, arrange a visit with that person to read the letter to them out loud. Then the two of you can discuss the letter. This might be hard to do and there will probably be tears.

Spend a Day Savouring

You've probably noticed that we're living in a culture of being busy, to the point where it's almost become competitive. Have you ever overheard or been in one of those conversations, where people are treating being busy like it's an Olympic sport? I'm WAY busier than you are! Jump out of the race for a day and schedule a day of savouring. Plan to do a number of things you enjoy, which don't necessarily have to cost anything (think walking along a beautiful path, sitting in a comfortable chair), while being present in and grateful for the experience.

Build a Gratitude Bank for the Year

Something for you to try in the New Year. Take an empty jar and a pile of post-it notes and each time something good happens (ideally daily) write it on a post-it note and put it in a jar with the date on it. Then on New Year's Eve spend some time going through your jar to remind yourself of how many great things happened that you can be grateful for.

We hope these help you to grow a gratitude habit, please do let us know how you get on and which ones you find the most useful. Especially if you've created your own way of doing it.

Well being


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