So earlier this week I promised I’d share some tips for a better gratitude practice and here they are!

Tip #1: Focus on the specific day

Yes, you can dutifully write down every day that you are grateful for your health, but that way you’re turning your practice into a “I do this because I have to” (we Dutch call it a ‘moetje’, pronounce “mooche”), which kind of defeats the point. Also, the total list of things you’re grateful for won’t really grow. That’s why I recommend actually focussing on things that are vey specific for the day. So that every day you surprise yourself with NEW things to be grateful for and the list actually grows bigger.

Tip #2: Pay attention to your senses

The idea behind the gratitude practice is that you actually feel it, rather than just *knowing* you’re grateful. When thinking of things that make you joyful, think of things that made your feel good, physically. Sharing laughter with new friends, small beautiful details you notice in your environment, a particularly tasty meal or food, the feeling of sunshine or a warm shower on your skin – these are all perfectly good things to be grateful for! Ingrid Fetell Lee has a great talk on how to find joy in every day life. And as she states on her Facebook page, quoting Karl Barth: “Joy is the Simplest form of Gratitude”. Check out her talk here:  

Tip #3: Push yourself

So you started out with three things to be grateful for each day. That’s cool, but try to push yourself a bit. Try to list all the things that instantly come to mind and then see if you can think of anything else. This is a great way to be grateful for small things that usually escape our notice.

Tip #4: Start your day with gratitude

Some people like to do this practice at the end of each day, but I suggest you do it as a part of your morning routine, listing things from the day before. That way, you’ll program your mind for gratitude at the beginning of the day and you’ll find it easier to notice new amazing things to be grateful for as you go about your day.

Tip #5: Review

Once every month or so, take a look at what you’ve written down. What things make you particularly happy and grateful? Is there anything you can do to maximize the amount of these in your life?