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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Seeking happiness? Move gratitude from just an attitude to a way of life.

A hand is holding a pen and making a list of what they are grateful for.

The pursuit of happiness. A right listed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence along with life and liberty. A call to personal well-being and growth. What can help us to pursue happiness?

Make gratitude a way of life.

Are you grateful? Not just this moment, or on Thanksgiving, or when things are going well, but even on ordinary days or when challenging times come your way? Is gratitude a way of life? Would you like it to be?

So far in our series on gratitude, we defined gratitude and shared the numerous ways it benefits our health and our personal and professional relationships.

Reading about gratitude is a good start. Now it is time to make it a habit. This final post will share 16 ways to practice gratitude and make it a way of life.

Before starting, take this online Gratitude Quiz and after several weeks of practicing gratitude, take it again.

16 ways to cultivate, practice, and sustain gratefulness in your life:

  1. Be grateful for things we often take for granted, free and unearned… the sun rising every morning, air to breathe and lungs to breathe with, a brain to think about what you are grateful for… what else can you add to this list?

  2. Enter your day, your workplace, and your home with gratitude. Make it a daily practice to make daily beginnings a time for gratitude… for a new day to live, work to do, and a home to enjoy. What other beginnings can be entered with gratitude?

  3. Reflect, recall, and remember what you are grateful for. Take time daily to ponder what you are thankful for, including ordinary moments, blessings, even challenges, those opportunities for learning and growth.

  4. Write down what you are grateful for. Create a gratitude journal, list, or jar, to record what you are thankful for. Strive to add 3 things each day.

  5. Share your gratitude on social media. Express your thankfulness to the world.

  6. Tell others you are thinking about and are thankful for them. Say thank you, I appreciate you, and I’m thinking about you and thankful you are in my life.

  7. Write a thank you card, letter, or email. Go a step further than speaking your thanks, put it in writing.

  8. Make a gratitude call or visit. Spend quality time with others in person or on the phone.

  9. Share gratitude at meals. Make thankfulness a topic of discussion.

  10. Post inspiring quotes of thankfulness. Put thoughts about gratitude where you will see them and be reminded to be grateful.

  11. Take a gratitude walk. Observe your surroundings and give thanks for nature, neighbors, the ability to move, and more.

  12. Make gratitude art. Create a collage of what you are thankful for.

  13. Say a prayer of thanks or meditate on what you are thankful for. Giving thanks is practiced in all religions.

  14. Volunteer. Give to charity. Acts of service and generosity extend our gratitude to others.

  15. Recognize others for their service, skill, or contribution. Go beyond being thankful and extend special recognition.

  16. Smile! This simple expression results in feeling grateful. Try it.

What other ways can you think of to practice gratitude? Which ones do you plan to practice? Begin with one or two and add more as they become habits.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Arthur Ward

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