With Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, we wanted to write about some ways that you may incorporate gratitude into your daily routine. It’s no surprise that gratitude practice has positive benefits on how we feel (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Watkins et al., 2003). It’s great that we have a day dedicated to gratitude on thanksgiving, but we may also want to work at incorporating gratitude into our everyday routines.
Here are some ways that you may incorporate gratitude into your day:
- Before reaching for your phone or stepping out of bed in the morning, call to mind three things you are grateful for. If you are having troubles thinking of things right away, notice what you’re grateful for in your surroundings. Maybe it’s having a roof over your head, how comfy your bed is, or a special photo in your surroundings.
- Use a gratitude app and set reminders to record things you’re grateful for throughout the day. Some examples of gratitude apps are Greatful: A Gratitude Journal, or Gratitude Journal 365. If you’d rather do it yourself, create a note on your phone to record things you feel grateful for throughout the day.
- Write a letter to someone you love telling them things you appreciate about them, and how much they mean to you. Then, hand-deliver it to them or send it in the mail. Writing a gratitude letter has been shown to increase people’s happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms (Toepfer, Cichy, & Peters, 2012).
- When your family is gathered for dinner, take turns each expressing something you are grateful for from the day. Research has demonstrated that expressing gratitude to a partner can make individuals feel that their relationship is stronger than those who do not practice expressing gratitude (Lambert, Clark, Durtschi, Fincham, & Graham, 2010).
- Be on the lookout for small things during your day to feel grateful for. Whether it’s a smile from a stranger, a piece of artwork in a building, a beautiful tree outside, or a sunny day – take time to stop and smell the roses!
Which of these do you think might work for your routine? Whatever the shape or form, we hope these tips were helpful to find a routine where you can express your gratitude throughout your days.
This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for our families, friends, clients, and you, the reader – thank you for coming on this journey with us.
Emmons, R., and McCullough, M. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective wellbeing in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.
Lambert, N., Clark, M., Durtschi, J., Fincham, F., and Graham, S. (2010). Benefits of expressing gratitude. Psychological Science, 21(4), 574-580.
Toepfer, S., Cichy, K., and Peters, P. (2012). Letters of gratitude: Further evidence for author benefits. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(1), 187-201.
Watkins, P., Woodward, K., Stone, T., and Kolts, R. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Developmental of a measure of gratitude and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality, 31(5), 431-452.