Practice being grateful every day with these quick and inspiring gratitude exercises to express gratitude for yourself, others, and circumstances in your daily life.
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What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is a powerful tool that transforms any negative situation by adding a positive perspective and makes otherwise ordinary moments even better by reminding us to savor the experience. You can reap the benefits of gratitude, which include better sleep, less stress, and an overall enhanced sense of well-being just by shifting your attitude towards a more grateful mindset.
How to Start a Gratitude Journal?
In this Gratitude journaling article, you’ll discover many easy ways to start living with more awareness, appreciation, and joy every day with simple exercises to do on the go including:
• Thank yourself for thinking ahead
• Get your body a gift
• Express “old” gratitude to a loved one
• Make a list of reasons to be proud of past you
• Give someone a positive tour
• Catalogue your lessons learned
These ten gratitude-infused activities help you cultivate positivity throughout your life and begin to develop habits that lead you to feel more fulfilled on a day-to-day basis. By following this article, you can easily turn any negative experience into a positive one—and thank yourself in the process!
What is the purpose of gratitude journaling?
- Do you want to learn how to maximize your happiness?
- Are you looking for ways to be appreciative of what you have?
- Do you want to improve your mental health and your self-esteem, and bring more good things into your life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are on the right platform.
This Gratitude exercises article gives you ten exercises you can do at home, at work, or on the go to help you see all the good around you, notice the little things, stay open to the positive, and adopt a more grateful perspective.
This article on gratitude journaling is an excellent resource whether you have never practiced gratitude exercises as a regular part of your day or if you are an experienced practitioner who needs a few new ideas.
This helpful gratitude exercise guide will provide you with quick but powerful gratitude exercises that you can incorporate into your daily life to cultivate a greater sense of gratitude for:
- Your body
- Your past and your present
- Your surroundings Some of the most diﬃcult situations in life
As you delve into these gratitude exercises, keep in mind that they don’t follow a strict order. If you feel drawn to one topic, in particular, skip straight to it. The rest will be here waiting for you whenever you are ready.
If you put in just a little bit of time and eﬀort, you’ll ﬁnd that practicing gratitude will not only make you more grateful; it will also make you happier and even healthier.
Gratitude Exercises to Cultivate Self-Gratitude
In this article, you will learn ten diﬀerent ways to enhance your gratitude for yourself. Increasing your self-gratitude is one of the most important goals you can set and is one of the most impactful ways to channel your time and energy.
These gratitude exercises will walk you through several ways to target your gratitude for yourself, including focusing on your strengths, practicing gratitude-focused mindfulness, treating yourself with love and understanding, and reminding yourself of the good things you have done.
Spend just a few minutes a day practicing these exercises, and you will see what a diﬀerence they can make to your self-love and self-gratitude.
Gratitude Exercises #1: SAY “THANK YOU” TO YOURSELF
It’s funny that the person we so often forget to thank is the person we should be showing constant gratitude to ourselves! It’s important to remember to show yourself some gratitude, as that self-gratitude is what forms the foundation for the more all-encompassing gratitude that can be such a life-changing force.
If the idea of saying “thank you” to yourself sounds strange, try this: Imagine there is someone who caters to your every need. He or she pays your bills, picks up your groceries, runs your errands, makes your meals, washes your dishes, does your laundry, and cleans your home.
Would you say “thank you” to this person for taking care of these tasks and chores for you? If it seems obvious to say “thank you” to someone else, then it should also be obvious to thank yourself for taking care of the same things!
Follow these steps to give yourself some sincere thanks:
1. Think of all the things you do that are necessary parts of life but that you don’t particularly enjoy (e.g., the mundane activities listed previously).
2. Consider the time and eﬀort that goes into completing these tasks.
3. Say “thank you” to yourself and extend your sincere gratitude to yourself for doing all of these unpleasant things.
Gratitude Exercises #2: FOCUS ON APPRECIATING YOUR STRENGTHS
One of the best ways to feel more self-gratitude is to focus on some of the best things about yourself—in other words, your strengths. After all, it’s hard to appreciate something if you’re constantly thinking about what’s wrong with it!
The same goes for appreciating yourself: The more you focus on the good things about yourself, the easier it will be to feel grateful for who you are instead of feeling down about who you’re not.
To focus on your strengths, try these steps:
1. When you start comparing yourself to others, feeling low about a mistake you made, or feeling down about not measuring up to some arbitrary standard, pause.
2. Ask yourself, “What is one of my strengths?” or “What is one of the best things about myself?” Take a minute to think about your strength or your favorite aspect of yourself, like being highly organized or good at relating to others.
3. Try showing yourself some gratitude for your strength; say something like, “I am grateful to myself for being [your strength]” or “I am grateful that I can [your strength].”
Remind yourself to come up with one strength every time your brain wants to highlight a weakness. After a while, you’ll have trained yourself to think about your strengths ﬁrst and your weaknesses second—if you think about them at all!
This focus on your strengths will prime you for greater self-appreciation and make it easier to feel self-gratitude.
Gratitude Exercises #3: EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE TO A HIGHER POWER
If you want a quick boost of gratitude and you believe in any sort of higher power—God, another benevolent deity, any sort of all-present and unseen entity, or the universe itself— this is a great exercise to practice.
To give it a try, follow these steps:
1. Take a few minutes by yourself in a quiet space. Limit the interruptions: Silence your phone, turn oﬀ the TV, and get someone else to watch the kids for a bit.
2. Think about your life and all that is good in it. Think about your relationships, your career, your family, your hobbies, your strengths and talents, your achievements and the things you are proudest of yourself for, and anything else that makes your life enjoyable and meaningful.
3. Wrap up all this goodness into a little package of gratitude for everything you are and everything you have, and send it up to whatever higher power you believe in.
4. Thank the higher power for the gifts you have been given. Try something like this, “Thank you for everything you have given me. I recognize that my life is full of love, joy, and wonderful experiences, and I am grateful for every one of them.”
5. Now extend this gratitude to yourself. Thank yourself for taking the time to practice gratitude and give yourself a metaphorical pat on the back (or a real one—your choice!) for doing something good for you.
Gratitude Exercises #4: “CATCH” SOMEONE ELSE’S GRATITUDE TOWARD YOU
Have you ever noticed that most contagious things are considered to be bad? When you think of the word contagious, you probably think of things like a cold, a ﬂu, a rash, or even one of the more serious bacteria-fuelled ailments.
But do you know what else can be contagious? Gratitude! It’s true, you can “catch” gratitude if you set your mind to it. In this exercise, you’ll learn how to pick up on someone else’s gratitude toward you and embrace it.
1. Wait and watch for someone to show you gratitude. Here’s a handy tip: To speed this step up, go out of your way to do something kind for another person!
2. When you notice that you’re on the receiving end of someone’s gratitude—no matter how seemingly small or insigniﬁcant—stop and recognize it!
3. Feel their gratitude, “catch” it as it comes your way, and savor it. Allow yourself to feel good about helping someone else, and enjoy the sensation of vicarious gratitude.
4. To let gratitude take hold, remind yourself that you deserve it. Tell yourself you’re a good person who does good things, and that you are completely justiﬁed in accepting and embracing that gratitude.
Sometimes all you need to boost your self-gratitude is to permit yourself to like and appreciate who you are —and having someone else lead the charge makes this even easier!
Gratitude Exercises #5: CREATE A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
It might sound strange, but there’s nothing odd about planning out your gratitude! Sometimes making a plan to be grateful can be exactly what you need; it keeps you on track and accountable, and it takes away some of the pressure to come up with an exercise or practice on the spot.
A journal or notebook that you write in regularly makes a great place for your plan, or you can type it up on your laptop or enter it into an app on your phone.
Here are some guidelines to follow in developing your gratitude plan:
- Be speciﬁc. Write down what you will do, how long you will do it, and when you will do it. Being too vague is a good way to set yourself up for forgetting or skipping a practice.
- Be consistent. Don’t plan just one gratitude activity a week. Try to work at least once a day.
- Mix it up. Don’t do the same exercise or practice every day, all week. Throw in a new one and try exercises that you wouldn’t normally do.
- Stick to it! This is the hardest step of all, but it’s also the most important. Try noting it on your calendar or setting an alarm to help you remember.
You can use the exercises in this article and organize them in your plan however you like, or you can ﬁnd other exercises and practices online.
Gratitude Exercises #6: WRITE A LIST OF YOUR POSITIVE TRAITS
Did you know that you’re pretty loveable? It’s true; there’s a lot to love about you!
If you already believe it, great! You can make it oﬃcial by writing it down. If you don’t believe it, no problem! This exercise will help you realize that you have a lot to be grateful to yourself for.
Grab a pen and some paper and get ready. This list is going to help you realize why you’re awesome, and why you should be thanking yourself for being awesome.
1. At the top, write “Why I’m Awesome” or “Why I’m Loveable” or any other title that captures how you want to feel about yourself.
2. Now, get to the listing! Think about all the awesome things about yourself. Don’t worry if you can’t think of big things right away; just start with the small stuﬀ.
For example, are you a kind and thoughtful person? Write it down! Do you have a knack for making people laugh? Write “hilarious” down! Have you ever given someone an amazing gift they loved? You’d better be writing “I’m a fantastic gift-giver” on the list!
- Go on listing reasons why you’re awesome until you run out of reasons, you run out of space to write them, or your hand starts to cramp up.
Now, read the list to yourself and think about what a great person it describes. Thank yourself for being so great, and mean it!
Gratitude Exercises #7: THANK YOURSELF FOR THINKING AHEAD
Remember that time you planned and things went just swimmingly? Maybe it happened only a day or two ago, and you’re still basking in the afterglow of your good decision-making, or maybe you’re thinking back a few weeks or months to such a time.
Whenever it happened, hold on to that experience and harness it to boost your gratitude toward yourself.
1. Think about the situation and remember all the details— what was happening, why you needed to plan, what you needed to plan for, and so on.
2. Detail the steps you took to prepare yourself. How did you decide what you needed to do? What concrete actions did you take?
3. Think about how everything panned out. What were the beneﬁts of planning? What outcomes would not have materialized—or would have been signiﬁcantly less positive—if you hadn’t planned?
4. Give yourself your sincerest thanks for planning. Say something like, “Thank you, self, for thinking ahead and setting me up to succeed. You’re the best!”
When you take the time to remember the good things you have done, whether, for yourself or others, you ﬁnd it much easier to foster self-love and self-gratitude. Remind yourself that you did something good for yourself and how good that felt, and commit to doing it again to cultivate even greater self-gratitude.
Gratitude Exercises #8: PRACTICE GRATITUDE-FOCUSED MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is an excellent practice—it helps you to get centered, to root yourself in the present, and to appreciate what you have.
However, you can tweak your mindfulness practice a bit to maximize your gratitude. Take these steps to practice gratitude-focused mindfulness:
1. Find somewhere quiet and peaceful to simply sit with your thoughts for a bit.
2. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for a few moments. Don’t try to control it or change it, just observe it as it ﬂows into and out of your lungs. Be grateful for your lungs and your breath.
3. Expand your awareness of your inner thoughts. Listen to them as they drift by, but let them keep on drifting right out of your mind. Observe as new thoughts come in, and refrain from judgment or “should”-ing.
4. Cultivate gratitude for your awareness, for your thoughts, and for the simple ability to think.
5. Expand your awareness once more to use your ears, your nose, and your sense of touch. Notice all the sounds, smells, and sensations you are experiencing. Decide to be grateful for every single thing, and for your ability to experience every single thing.
6. Open your eyes slowly, keeping your present-moment awareness. Look around you, and decide to be grateful for everything you see.
Gratitude Exercises #9: ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EFFORT
How often do you take a moment to think about how much eﬀort you put into each day? I don’t mean the eﬀort you put into just one thing, like a project at work or a task at home, but all of your many eﬀorts. If you’re like most people, you expend quite a bit of eﬀort just to survive and keep yourself sane, clothed, fed, and nurtured.
The fact that you are reading this sentence right now shows that, on top of all this daily eﬀort required to simply continue being a human being, you are willing to put even more eﬀort into becoming a better human being.
Use this exercise as an opportunity—or an excuse, if you feel you need one—to acknowledge your eﬀort and enhance your appreciation for yourself.
1. Take a minute to think about all the eﬀort you put in daily just to be.
2. Now think about the extra eﬀort you’re putting in to practice gratitude. It might not seem like much, but remember that it stacks on top of all the work you already do.
3. Remind yourself that not everyone puts in this much eﬀort—or any eﬀort at all—to better themselves, but you are!
4. Thank yourself for doing the legwork and making time to practice more gratitude, an eﬀort that will lead to a healthier, happier you and will reverberate out into your life.
Gratitude Exercises #10: SCHEDULE A DATE WITH YOURSELF
One of the best ways to show others that you love and appreciate them is to share one of your most precious resources with them: your time. Money can be earned, things can be bought and sold, but your time cannot ever be recovered; if you make a conscious decision to spend time with someone, you’re telling them in unequivocal terms that they are valuable and dear to you.
Extend this same appreciation to yourself by spending time with you! Plan to take yourself on a date that you will love. After all, you’re the perfect person to plan a date for yourself—you already know everything you enjoy doing, where you enjoy going, and what you enjoy eating and drinking!
Follow these guidelines to take yourself on a date:
- Set it in stone. This means scheduling it in your calendar, marking yourself “busy” during that time, and even creating reminders so you don’t forget.
- Plan it out. Not every moment needs to be ﬁlled with activities, but make sure you have something planned (e.g., don’t just write “hang out with self” on your calendar).
- Make it enjoyable. Is doing laundry, cleaning the house, or stopping for coﬀee while you run errands a good date? No! Plan enjoyable activities.
- Don’t ﬂake. It doesn’t feel good to be stood up, so don’t do it to yourself! Keep your data, no matter what.
Also Read: 29 Positive Affirmations for Women