Gratitude is a powerful practice that can help us focus on the present moment, combat negativity bias, and improve our mood and relationships.

5 Ways to Express Gratitude in Your Daily Life:

1. Notice things that bring you joy.

Take a moment to appreciate the simple pleasures in your life and state them out loud. This may sound like:

“This coffee tastes really good.”
“The sky is so pretty.”
“This shirt is really soft.”

This practice helps us “stop and smell the roses,” and it can also spill over into our relationships, where we may find ourselves expressing appreciation for our loved ones. You’ll find yourself saying things like:

“This hairstyle looks great on you.”
“I like how you’re thinking, I appreciate you offering a different perspective.”
“I’m grateful for our friendship.”

2. Write it down.

Keep a daily gratitude journal. Do this when you first wake up, when something comes to mind during the day, or before you go to bed. Seeing your gratitude in writing can help bring it to life and can also be a helpful reference when you’re feeling down.

Show your gratitude for others by writing thank you notes or a list of reasons you’re grateful to have them in your life.

This practice grounds you in the present moment.

3. Be present.

Leave the past in the past and don’t worry about the future. Be in the moment and allow yourself to feel. Practicing gratitude can help us find contentment.

Of course, this doesn’t mean ignoring or minimizing difficult situations, but rather finding ways to appreciate what we have and the resources available to us.

4. Be of service.

Lend a hand to those in need to show your gratitude for the efforts they’re making. Helping others is a great way to express gratitude for the support and resources we have, and it can also help us appreciate what we have to offer others.

5. Say “thank you”.

Never underestimate the power those two words can have, especially when said in person. Make a point to express your appreciation to others, using eye contact and a warm embrace whenever possible.

A verbal expression of gratitude is a mindfulness practice in and of itself: taking note of something that brings you joy, speaking it out loud, and blessing someone with two not-so-simple words.

woman kneeling on floor with hands in praying posture expressing gratitude

Express gratitude and you’ll experience living in the moment, strengthening your relationships, and developing a healthy habit of seeing the good in the world. What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

If you struggle to create a gratitude list, don’t force it. It may be helpful to reflect on things that may seem negative at first, but that can help put our lives in perspective and remind us of how far we’ve come. On days when you’re feeling down, try doing a mental scan of “things I prayed for but I’m glad I didn’t get,” as a way to pull yourself back to the present and remind yourself that you’re exactly where you need to be right now.