20 Ways To Practice Gratitude And Spread The Love

practice gratitude

Did you know that your brain is naturally set up to have a negative bias?  That you’re much more likely to dwell on the ‘negative’ thoughts and experiences than the ‘positive’ ones?  Science tells us that our brains are hard-wired to do this, possibly as part of some ancient survival instinct that is meant to protect us from unfavourable situations [1].

Whatever the reason, it means that you need to put a little more effort and intention into noticing and enjoying good experiences. That when you do that you can slowly retrain your brain to form newer, more positive ways of thinking and feeling.

And this is where gratitude practice plays a powerful role.  When you practice gratitude on a regular basis, you form new neural pathways and force your brain to start noticing all the good things that are around you, instead of all the bad.

Here are just 20 ways to practice gratitude that will inspire you to look at the world in a completely different way…

20 Awesome Ways To Practice Gratitude

1 Keep A Gratitude Journal

The number one way to practice gratitude and make it a daily habit!  Keep a journal by your bed and every morning or evening, write down 5 things you’re grateful for in your life.  Watch your awareness of things around you swing from more negative to more positive.  Enjoy looking back over your year of gratitudes and marvelling at how rich your life truly is.

2  Drop Someone A Text

Drop a friend or loved one a text just to say thanks.  For no other reason than they make your life better for being there.

3  Do It The Old Fashioned Way And Write A Note

Who doesn’t love receiving a hand-written note or letter?!  They’re so few and far between nowadays and a lovely surprise when they’re out of the blue.  Enjoy hand-writing a thankyou message, then pop it in the post or even hand-deliver it.

4  Send Some Flowers Or A Gift

Think of the joy people experience when they receive a surprise bunch of flowers or a little gift in the post.  They can be glowing about it all day!  That’s how powerful gratitude is.  A glorious way to say thankyou to someone for a favour they did you, or just for being an awesome friend.

5  Focus On Your Breathing

Take 5 minutes to lie down and contemplate your breathing, the oxygen moving in and out with each breath.   Do a full body scan from your head to your toes.  Express gratitude for each part of your body and how it serves you.

6  Smile More And Widely

Set an intention to smile more often – smiling helps to release feel-good chemicals in yourself and other people.  Smile at yourself because you’re alive and because of what you’ve achieved.  Smile at others because they’re also on their own challenging journey.  And if you don’t feel too much like smiling then ‘fake it to make it’ and observe how that helps to lift your mood.

7  Pause And Practice Gratitude Before You Eat

Next time you sit down to eat a meal, at any time of the day, take a moment to be grateful for the food in front of you.  Savour the smell, taste and texture.  Try not to wolf it down and rush on to your next task, enjoy it and eat slowly.  Be mindful and present about the flavours and the whole eating experience.

8  Be Grateful For Challenges And Mistakes

Mistakes and challenges are not really ‘bad’ they’re just a part of life.  The challenges are there to help you grow and stretch you out of your comfort zone.  And your mistakes can be a springboard to becoming a stronger, better, wiser person.  Always remember to be gentle with yourself for the mistakes you make – if you knew how to do things better you absolutely would!

9  Donate Some Money

Choose a charity that’s close to your heart and donate a little money to their cause.  Reflect on how their work is making the world a better place.  Volunteer your time if you can, to give something back and spread the love even further.

10  Take A Walk

Get outside, stretch your legs and notice all of your surroundings. Be deeply thankful for fresh air, the sun, the wind or rain on your face.  The birds, wildlife, trees and green spaces that are part of our world.  And the fact that you have the freedom to pretty much go wherever you please.

11  Consider The Water You Drink

We all take our water supply for granted.  Turn on the tap at any second and we have an endless supply of water for drinking, cooking, washing, cleaning.  Practice gratitude that it’s right there when you need it, after all it keeps you alive!  And be more mindful about how much you’re using.

12 Thank Your Postie, Your Bus Driver, Your Grocery Courier

How many people are out and about, serving you and your community.  These people might not be having the best day and just a hello, a big smile and a thank-you might make all the difference to them.  Practice gratitude that someone is there to do the jobs that maybe you wouldn’t want to do.  They help to keep the world going round.

13  Thank Your Co-Workers

You’re around them every day and they’re part of your team, working with you through long shifts and tough projects.  Next time you say ‘see you later’ at the end of the day, take more time than normal to give them a hug.  Be appreciative to them for sharing the load and getting stuff done.  They might really need to hear it.

14  Spend Time With A Tree

Trees are truly beautiful things.  Beings of peace and calm, and the lungs of the world!  Lie under a tree, paint a picture of a tree, hug a tree.  Feel the texture of its trunk and listen to the wind in its leaves.  Feel deep gratitude that it cleans the air and releases oxygen so that you can breathe.

15  Leave A 5-Star Review

When was the last time you received great service from a company or a fab product that you loved?  Take a few minutes to leave a positive online review, drop them an email or some feedback to say thanks and tell them how pleased you were.  Spread the word and recommend the company to others, who might benefit as well.

16 Cook A Meal For Someone

Take time to choose a gorgeous nourishing recipe, prep all the ingredients and treat a friend or loved one to a really special meal.  Enjoy the cooking process and use the time to think about how much they mean to you and why you’re making it for them.  Use the meal time itself to savour the company of the one you’re sharing it with.

17 Meditate On Beautiful Things

You can use your meditation time to practice gratitude by reflecting on all your blessings.  Give quiet thanks for your own awesome qualities, who you’ve been before and who you’re becoming.  And be grateful for the journey that you’re on.  You can record your thoughts in your gratitude journal.

18  Love Your Pet (Even More Than Usual)

Your pet offers unconditional love to you in every moment.  Next time you walk, stroke, feed or play with your pet, fully focus your attention on them.  Feel appreciation for the endless companionship and pleasure they bring into your world.

19  Pay Full Attention To Loved Ones

Next time you have a conversation with a loved one, really listen to what they’re saying and give them your undivided attention.  We’re all guilty of taking these everyday conversations for granted, assuming we know what loved ones are about to say, and getting easily distracted by other things around us.

20 Run An Errand

Practice gratitude and spread the love by giving someone else a hand with a simple errand.  Offer to do a friend’s shopping, drop off a parcel, pick up a prescription.  There are loads of simple ways to pay it forward.

If you have your own ideas for expressing gratitude and appreciation, please share in the comments below!! I’d love to learn more ways of sharing the love around….

And if you’re feeling inspired to get writing, Natalie Fox has range of beautiful gratitude journals to pour your heart into and get your appreciation flowing.


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