Health & Wellness Articles

The Power of Gratitude

4 Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude


Here are some ways to start practicing gratitude to improve your well-being:
  1. Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, write down 3-5 things from the day you feel grateful for. Simplicity is key. Your baby’s smile, a perfect sunset, the train arriving on time, or your best friend’s laughter. Relish the feeling you get when remembering and writing it down.
  2. Express your gratitude. Take the time to share your feelings. Not the simple, polite thank you, but the heartfelt emotions. Tell your friend how her support and sense of humor helps you get through tough times, and how much it means to you. Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Let them know how much you love them and why.
  3. Look for what is right about a situation, not what’s wrong. Sure you’re frustrated by the bus being late, but thankfully you have an understanding boss. Service at the restaurant is poor, but you are lucky to afford an evening out surrounded by good friends.
  4. Practice gratitude with your family and friends. Although you may not say grace before a meal, encourage each family member to report one thing that happened that day that they feel grateful for. When you hear a friend moaning and complaining, challenge him or her to find the hidden opportunity or silver lining to the situation.
The other night, lying in bed reviewing all this information, I reminded myself that when I took the aforementioned Survey of Character Strengths, gratitude was one of my strongest characteristics. So I put that strength to use and began to count the day’s blessings. I remembered that although the email technology drove me crazy that day, it also allowed me to connect by text message. How lucky I am to live in a time where communication is so easy. And although things weren’t off to a good start, my daughter has a job despite a difficult economy. Sure enough the next morning, her supervisor called with apologies for the delay and off to work she went. I remembered that when I felt at my wits end, my best friend readily met me for coffee, made me laugh and reminded me that although frustrating, life is good!

For today, the warm breeze, my outdoor office, and the singing of the birds in the trees all fill my heart with gratitude and joy! What are you grateful for today?

Ben-Shahar, Tal. 2007. Happier. New York: McGraw Hill

Emmons, R.A., and McCullough, M.E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84: 377-89.

Fredrickson, Barbara L. 2009 Positivity. New York: Crown Publishers

Lyubomirsky, Sonja. 2007. The How of Happiness. New York: Penguin Books

Seligman, Martin. 2002. Authentic Happiness. New York: Free Press
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen founded EnerG Coaching, LLC to help individuals struggling with health issues that can be impacted by positive lifestyle change, such as weight loss, stress management, exercise, and life/work balance. As a professional wellness coach and certified personal trainer, Ellen holds a BS and Masters in Physical Education and is certified by ACSM, AFAA, and Wellcoaches Corporation. Visit her at Get her complimentary report, 52 Tips, Tools & Tricks to Permanent Weight Loss Without Going on a Diet, at

Member Comments

  • Many years ago when I was going through a tough spot and really down, my dad said something that has stuck with me since . . . . "Count Your Blessings" . . .

    It seems to transport my mind away from the thing that's got me down, and puts me back on track . . . so many blessings! - 9/18/2015 1:26:40 PM
  • I like to give thanks to Him everyday and for sending His Son to be our Savior. - 8/11/2015 10:03:05 PM
  • I thank my Heavenly Father all throughout the day and if I feel distressed or wake up in the middle of the night especially if I am distressed. I say thank you over and over again, so that the bad thoughts will not overtake me as they are attempting to enter my psyche. Works like a charm because sooner or later I'm back asleep, wake up refreshed all to thank Him all over again for another nights rest and with expectation for a greater day than the one before.. - 8/11/2015 10:54:47 AM
  • Wonderfull article this is!! Beautifull comments here. Thankfull people at Sparkpeople just make my day. I feel exactly the same way by the way, I count my blessings nowadays!! Thank you Jah, for everyday I can experience all of this awesomeness. - 8/10/2015 6:30:09 PM
  • Personally, I'm convinced that we were created to be grateful people. When I read the passages of Philippians chapter 4, for instance, the importance of exposing ourselves to God in all things through prayer is underlined by Paul telling us to do so with all thanksgiving. Indeed, thinking about and attending to everything that is good, acceptable and perfect is included into the concept.

    Or, as was pointed out in The Illuminati Papers [not a Christian publication, for those interested], here is a quick intelligence test: If your world is getting bigger and funnier, your intelligence is steadily increasing. If your world is getting smaller and nastier, your stupidity is steadily increasing.

    I'm grateful for being at SparkPeople, and to be a part of getting help and assisting others as I can. - 4/30/2015 5:59:43 PM
  • I am grateful for everyday with family and friend and everyday that I feel able to move my body and eat healthy. - 4/30/2015 4:10:02 PM
    First off...I am grateful for this article.
    Second off...I am grateful for the sparking community...Thank
    s ya'll! - 4/30/2015 12:40:04 PM
  • Practicing gratitude can be life changing

    Please join our new Gratitude Journals Spark team - 2/12/2015 6:09:31 AM
    Thank you for an amazing article which I found to be honest and well worth the time to read. I always try to be positive within my life but as you say gratitude helps us to be positive. I am a grateful person but gratitude is more than that. I look at my life and love who I am I have been through some really nightmare situations but it is everything I have gone through which has made me the person I am today of this I'm truly grateful for. I'm over weight and not that healthy but I still love who I am.
    Once again thank you for a wonderful inspiring message. - 1/19/2015 9:52:23 AM
  • I start each day quietly being grateful for all the blessings in my life. It is a habit I developed as part of the Positive Bloggers team here at SP. Somedays, when time allows, I even blog them here. - 1/18/2015 9:20:55 AM
    Thank you for reminding me how many things I am thankful for. I try to thank God in my nightly prayers and weekly Mass for all His blessings, but you pointed out some I have overlooked. - 12/26/2014 9:07:25 PM
  • Well said! Great article! I try & live my life this way everyday except I need to express my feelings more to the actual people I am grateful for. My husband & sons tend to be negative, my daughter & I the positive ones. As I am transfoming all aspects of my life to better myself, my husband & boys see the progression. Believe it or not, they are starting to catch on with this & the laws of attraction! - 10/29/2014 2:03:35 PM
  • what an awesome article. I consider myself one to share gratitude often. but after reading this article I see it would benefit me and the other person if I say why I'm thankful for what was done. I love the idea of calling on the person who is complaining... me included... to then say at least one good thing coming from the demise. because, no matter how upset we are at a situation - if I can say one good thing that is coming from it, I can then come up w/another, and that my dear, is what gets me (and most likely you too) in a better mood and then able to get out of the disturbing/upsett
    ing situation. - 10/23/2014 11:35:52 AM
  • I am grateful for people like you all that have gone thru rough times and can inspire someone like me to practice gratitude. Love the Gratitude Box idea!!! - 10/19/2014 4:36:25 PM
  • I really needed this today - I am a very grateful person and tell people that a lot. I just am not very good at being grateful for me and my strengths. I am very blest to have the same kind of job - in fact I am headed outdoors to the deck to begin my work assignment for today - my self-evaluation! My first step will be to do make a list of what I am most grateful about me! - 8/7/2014 10:49:49 AM

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