You’ve heard it before – practicing gratitude is good for you. It can make you happier, increase your patience, increase success in relationships, ease depression, reduce overeating, improve self-esteem, reduce aggression, enhance empathy, improve physical health and even give you a better night’s sleep.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. It is the simple act of noticing what you have and expressing thanks for it.

But gratitude offers us even more in terms of rewards. It trains us at mindfulness, putting us into the ‘here and now’ and allows us to regulate and attune our awareness. In a world where we are encouraged to be disembodied through technology, busyness and fear, it provides an opportunity to reach within, be present, and name the positive.

It also creates emotional and psychological wealth by putting us into a mind frame of abundance rather than scarcity. It is a powerful reframe from focussing on what we don’t have to what we do have. It opens us to receive, with grace and appreciation, the gifts offered to us.

I also believe that practicing gratitude triggers creativity, in that we are practicing lateral, expansive thinking. We are looking at what might otherwise be unseen, and imbuing it with a tinge of the miraculous. If, as Matthew Fox says, creativity is where the Divine and the Human meet, then gratitude is a kind of divine communication; a gateway where spirit is alive. As Teilhard de Chardin says, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience” and gratitude may be the field in which our beings meet, interact, and mutually support each other.

So yes, practice gratitude. Practice gratitude as much as you can, as often as you can. It’s easy to be grateful for the obvious things, but here are some gratitude tips that will stretch your gratitude muscle.

Bedtime gratitude:

As you are lying in bed at night, just before falling asleep, think of one thing that happened during the day that you feel gratitude for. However, don’t pick anything obvious, choose something that was unique, different, a positive risk, intimate, or scary. Make it something that you have never expressed gratitude for before.From Brother David Steindl-Rast, Christian Monk, Zen Teacher

Gratitude for what didn’t work out:

Maryanne Williamson says that rejection is God’s way of protecting us. If we are curious and open, then we might accept that the things we didn’t achieve, the things that we lost, the ‘failures’ we have experienced just might be the best thing for us. Perhaps our spirit needs something our mind cannot fathom. Perhaps there is another path. Perhaps we were headed for dangerous waterfalls, thinking we were floating on a calm river.

Practice gratitude for what doesn’t work out and see how this reframes toxic emotions like rejection, betrayal, loss and failure into acceptance and yes, grace.


For information on gratitude:

Harvard health studies:

Time magazine: