Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

4 Gratitude Tips

Being as I’m not great at gratitude (or I’m not like the guy in the Optimism Club that reader Peg talks about on the message board of my “Optimism Versus Hope” post), I appreciated these four simple gratitude tips by Catherine Price, reprinted from “Greater Good Magazine.”


Research in positive psychology has identified several ways that practicing gratitude can boost people’s health and happiness. Here are four of these research-tested “gratitude interventions.” 

1. Write a gratitude letter.


Research by Martin Seligman, Christopher Peterson, and others has shown this one to be particularly effective. Write a letter to a mentor, family member, or some other important person in your life whom you’ve never properly thanked. Deliver it in person. Read it out loud. Bring tissues.?

2. Keep a gratitude journal.

Studies by psychologists Michael McCullough, Robert Emmons, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and others have backed up this exercise, which involves keeping a list of things for which you’re grateful–anything from your children or spouse to the beauty of the tree outside your window. Doing so helps you focus on the positive things in your life–a practice that’s been shown to increase happiness.

3. Savor.
Take the time to notice beauty and pleasures in your daily life. Loyola University psychologist Fred Bryant has shown that savoring positive experiences can heighten your positive responses to them. A key to savoring is what Bryant calls “thanksgiving,” or expressing gratitude for the blessings that come your way, large and small.

4. Think outside the box.
It’s fairly obvious why we might feel grateful for grandmothers, lovely sunsets, and anything else that has provided comfort or beauty in our lives. But what about thanking the homeless people who come to the shelter where you volunteer? “Individuals who do volunteer work sometimes speak of the benefits they receive from service,” writes Robert Emmons in his forthcoming book, Thanks! “Since service to others helped them to find their own inner spirituality, they were grateful for the opportunity to serve.” If we look hard enough, he argues, we can find a reason to feel grateful for any relationship–even when someone does us harm, as that person helps us appreciate our own vulnerability. Emmons claims that such highly advanced forms of gratitude may actually increase the level of goodness in the world by inspiring positive acts in ourselves and others. 
I’m going to add one more, from reader Giddy on the message board of my post “Quotes on Gratitude“:


5. Put your slippers under your bed. 

Writes Giddy:
I place my bedroom slippers under my bed every night before I go to sleep. This way I have to get down on my knees to retrieve them every morning. Once on my knees I thank God for my breath, another day, another dawn, my family, my health, and my work. And then I ask His Will be done and not mine.

  • Larry Parker

    I actually did #1 years ago, on some (divinely?) inspired whim with my father.
    Who is a stone-hearted alcoholic.
    Yet it really improved our relationship. Will miracles never cease …
    I’m happy to note that I practice #2, #3 and #4 in varying degrees too. I can always improve, but at least I’m on a good path.
    Can’t do #5, though. My dachshund would eat them ;-P

  • Larry Parker

    For those of us a bit less religious, a movie quote that seems apropos (the last line of the Oscar-winning “American Beauty”):
    LESTER BURNHAM (Kevin Spacey): “I guess I could be pretty p*ssed off about what happened to me … but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst … And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life … You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry … you will someday.”

  • Liza

    thanks you 4 Gratitude Tips

  • stories

    hm, interesting article. Where i can to read more about Gratitude Tips?

  • Mary Anne Thompson

    When I think of people, places and things that I am grateful to, you are at the top of my list! and Beyond Blue have been there for me so many times when I was struggling, at my wits end, signed onto the computer and got a post….and it just happened to be what I needed to hear or read at that moment. It happened again this morning. My son came in from wk around 5:00 and woke me up. Ugh I was not ready to get up, I took my blood pressure medicine late last night and have to see my Dr this afternoon. One of my triggers is my son! I just had a talk with him about the very thing u wrote about/posted for today…being grateful. He came in bitching because he is out of gas, AGAIN. Does not know where he is gonna get the money to get some before he has to go back into wk tonite. Something I asked him about over and over last wk as I saw him going out to eat, drinking, spending the paycheck he had got last. This is a repeat performance I am afraid…but I am not on here to bitch and rant to the readers like he does to me.
    Back to my point……..u and your blog were here for me AGAIN this morning after my getting exasperated with Josh again! Joshua a good Bible name yet he is the furthest thing from any Bible character I have read about. I am grateful I have my son, I am not grateful for his bad attitude, his sense of entitlement, his imbalances which he is NOT on meds for. Being an adult child he has to get help for himself there is nothing I can do but love him and pray for him. Love, tough love….learned that in Al-Anon as he has a drinking and drugging problem too.
    Ok,back to being grateful…it is something we flip back and forth between I think. While we are all grateful for things there is also the other side…the things that make us loose touch with gratitude. It is hard to be grateful when Thanksgiving is upon you, u are not sure HOW u are gonna be able to afford to get the food to eat. You are not in a secure home or know where u are going to put your house shoes. Perhaps you have no bed to put them under….people in shelters sleep in thier shoes for fear of having them stolen as they sleep.
    Right now as I type this, I have ALOT to be grateful for. I am upset though, I have tightness in my chest, anxiety and am considering taking my morning meds that I normally do not take until 9:00. I am not grateful that I have to live on med’s. I am not grateful that both of my parents were mentally ill and I inherited the DNA which now has been passed down to my children. I get to see the problems repeat in all 3 of them. It is hard…I am drawn back to your post from yesterday about going back to old places of refuge. I go to nature, it always helps me to go outdoors. To go to a park or walk around, to listen to the trees, the birds, the sounds of nature.
    To the reader who asked where u could find more topics on gratitude…it is my suggestion that u sit down and start making your own gratitude list. It does work, I have used this method which I learned from the 12 step programs for yrs.
    Now where I have been trying to go thru this entire post. Thankyou to YOU Therese. This Thanksgiving I am grateful to call you a friend, grateful for all the wisdom you share with us freely on a daily basis. Thank you for your experiences, strength and hope you are very special and you are a gift! The past is History, the future a mystery but the present a gift from God….thats why it is called
    Blessed Be!

  • Cindy

    For me…looking at my gratitude list(s) when I am NOT feeling gratitude(mainly when depression is heading south taking me with it) is the key to my whole reason to keeping a list, journal, etc. It is very easy for me to express my gratitude in the positive emotions of the UP the HIGH because honestly I have a very very good life(all areas). HOWEVER in my LOW I create, exaggerate, obsess…about anything, anyone-I need my journal to keep balance, sanity or just to THROW! I am fortunate life has not thrown me many curve balls, always been straight down the middle-things one should expect not the wild ride some of you have expressed on here, so I will not pretend to understand the combination of depression and truly difficult life experiences so for that I will add all of you to my gratitude list today-thankful in my tough depression moments I do not have outside influences that make coming out of the dark that much more difficult BUT if or when I DO experience life in more difficult, unexpected way I am grateful for my friends on here to help me know there is ALWAYS LIGHT in the DARKNESS!

  • Dan

    I’m a lot like Cindy. My life has been easy, with just the expected, average difficulties… but sometimes I get so down it feels like there’s a mountain on my back, and I can’t see anything positive happening, ever. And there’s no reason for that, that I can see.
    I heard a sermon series called “Thanksgiving Victory” that talks about being thankful *before* your blessings arrive, and how powerful that is. And I know it’s right, and it works… and sometimes I can’t do it at all, and I really don’t like myself for that (which, as you know, just makes depression worse). But I keep trying.
    Thank you, Therese, for sharing what you go through and reminding us all that where there is God, there is hope.

  • Cindy

    hey Dan something else I do-when I am down, low I try to journal the feelings-then when it happens again I reread realize it is the depression(not me a terrible horrible person making the world an ugly place)….and that this will pass. ONE thing that depression has done for me is when I am riding the happy road I strive to be the best person I can be…so when I fall below the line of normal(temporarily) I have the least amount of beat up thoughts possible…I have tried to tell me myself this is a POSITIVE trait of a ‘in tuned’ person who suffers with depression. OF course when all else fails I can throw both my GRATITUDE and NEGATIVE journal(s) usually by the second throw I feel some relief!

  • barb quester

    hi therese, i think that developing gratitude is a habit-forming exercise, just like anything else. every morning, either in the shower, or just getting in the car and seeing the sunshine, i automatically thank God for every blessing in my life. of course, i can’t name them, but God knows what He has given me, and i thank Him for my warm bed, my home, animals, a hot shower, which may all sound trivial, but when you look at, for instance, the people in Haiti who have NOTHING, i can’t help but be grateful. it’s not a hard habit to get into. maybe i got it from my mom, who was a ‘cup half full’ kind of woman. whereever it came from, i am grateful for this habit too.

  • Mark Moccia

    I believe alot of what the people listed before me feel. I was taken out of my grass roots due to divorce. The divorce was nasty and immoral. I have Schitzophrenia and the medicine I have to deal with on my own. It takes alot out of a person to get to the right medicine. The losses are huge. To over come those losses only I can understand. The full amount of determination a person needs to focus on, “Does this medicine work or can I switch it?” I went through that for about 8-9 years. I had family that was not responsive or helpful in engaging in mental health. The clothing and ciggarettes thats all very nice. I thank them for it. I just recently had to cut alot of stressors in my life so my symptoms do not get worse. I think some people will always have a default thinking. Everybody is vulnerable to something as people we have to learn to identify that and correct it. That is what in my case my family does not seem to follow. Having a disease is difficult and the person with the disease may need 100% of them self to get as close to the cure as possible. To keep the distractions out of your own life may be the best thing for you!

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