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  • aghinshaw

Practicing Gratitude

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

During hard times, it can be difficult to find things to be thankful for, big or small. At the time of this writing, Californians are coping with a pandemic and with one of the worst fire seasons on record. Social distancing, being forced to stay indoors because of the smoke and ash, and feeling increasingly cooped up can lower morale. Practicing gratitude can lend a small boost in positive energy. Below are a few ways to work on practicing gratitude.

Write down what you’re grateful for

Gratitude journals are often the go-to means of practicing gratitude. They can also act as fantastic reminders during those times when it’s difficult to recall what we’re thankful for. This method can also be scaled as needed. When I worked with children/adolescents, I would use index cards and colored pencils instead of a journal. The kids would write, draw, or doodle images of things in their lives that made them happy. I encouraged them to keep this card with them in their pocket whenever they needed to be reminded of the positive.

Give a small gift or thoughtful gesture to someone else

Small gifts and gestures are wonderful, actionable ways of displaying gratitude towards the people around us. Offer to do a chore or to run an errand for a family member. Surprise a coworker with a cup of coffee or tea. Even getting yourself a gift could act as a thankful measure of self-care.


Using mindfulness with gratitude helps us to build an awareness of not only how we practice gratitude, but also in finding things that we are thankful for. Observe moments throughout the day of the things that you appreciate: quiet time in the morning, a meaningful conversation with a loved one, a small accomplishment at work, or the peaceful solitude when walking outside. For me, I love the feeling of sitting with my cup of coffee and writing in my bullet journal every morning.

Questions for readers:

  • How do you practice daily gratitude? What personal benefits have you experienced from it?

  • What helps you to remember to practice gratitude during hard times?

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