There are few things that can affect the overall quality of your life as significantly as your attitude. Similar to a muscle, your attitude must be trained to grow stronger.  Perhaps the easiest exercise you can incorporate into your life for growing a positive attitude is practicing gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness.  Practicing gratitude daily helps to alleviate sadness, frustration, stress, doubt, fear, and reduces the temptation to develop a victim mentality for life’s circumstances. The growth of a positive attitude through practicing gratitude will have a direct correlation towards improving your personal and professional life.   You have so much to be grateful for in your life, whether you realize it or not.  Practicing gratitude daily will help you uncover items both big and small for which to be thankful and will help you recognize opportunities to show kindness to others.

If you’re not sure where to start, use the following few examples to begin practicing gratitude.

  • Who is a person in your life for which you are grateful?  Why?
  • Who is a person in your life that is a source of frustration?  What good qualities does this person possess that you can find grateful? 
  • What experiences in your life have you enjoyed, and how did they benefit you?
  • What experiences in your life caused you pain, and what did you learn from them?
  • What accomplishments are you proud of achieving?  Who helped you achieve your goal?
  • What accomplishments have you helped others achieve?
  • What future opportunities are you grateful?
  • What small things in life are you grateful?  Perhaps a cup of coffee in the morning, or a glass of wine at night?
  • How are you grateful for your body, your health, your home, your job, your safety?
  • How are you grateful for nature and God?

You must make time to practice gratitude daily.  Similar to brushing your teeth when you wake up each morning and before you go to sleep each night, dedicate a few minutes each day for practicing gratitude that becomes a habitual part of your day.    

You can use the following examples to incorporate gratitude into your day.

  • Dedicate a specific time daily to meditate on gratitude for a few minutes.
  • Add time for practicing gratitude to something you already do each day, like taking a shower, getting ready for work each morning, driving to work, exercising, or through prayer.
  • Keep a gratitude journal that you update daily.
  • Ask someone to become your gratitude accountability partner.  I recently heard a story about a husband and wife who share 5 things they are grateful for each day before bed.  If one is out of town for the evening, they will call or text each other to share the 5 items.  

I personally add gratitude to my morning and evening prayers.  I also love taking gratitude walks, where I’ll take a 10 to 15-minute stroll through the city and challenge myself to find small things for which I’m grateful in all areas of my life.   No matter how many trials and challenges I face, gratitude reminds me that I’m truly blessed.  You are too.