7 Ways to Practice Gratitude All Year

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

As Thanksgiving approaches, we often find ourselves thinking about gratitude. What are we thankful for this year? What’s changed since the holidays last year? It’s wonderful to take time to be grateful each November. But why limit it to just one month a year? Here are seven ways to start practicing gratitude in your everyday life—year round.

1. Say Thank You

This one may seem simple, but it’s easily forgotten. Incorporate saying “thank you” more into your day-to-day. Whether you’re thanking a coworker for their help, your partner for picking up milk after work, or your friend for listening to you vent, a thank you is always appreciated.

To go the extra mile, consider writing a handwritten note of thanks the next time you’re feeling particularly grateful. The personal touch is sure to brighten the recipient’s day and the act of letter writing encourages reflection.

2. Go for a Walk

Walks are a great way to practice mindfulness and slow down. They pull you out of your daily routine and worries. Notice your surroundings and observe the little things—a leaf scuttling down the sidewalk, a new wreath your neighbor put up, the shapes of the clouds in the sky. Being observant of these small things is a good reminder of how big the world is and how much we have to be grateful for.

3. Start a Gratitude Journal

If you can’t seem to remember to take a moment during the day to pause and be grateful, try carving out time to physically write it down. Having a set time of day will ensure that it becomes part of your routine. Pick out a notebook and dedicate it to gratitude journaling. Your list doesn’t have to be long—even one thing is enough.

Another pro tip? The more specific your entries, the better. You can write, “I’m grateful for my dogs,” or you can write, “I’m grateful that my dogs made me laugh today by playing with each other in the backyard.” The latter is more specific, memorable, and powerful.

4. Get Social

Gratitude doesn’t have to take place in private! It can be fun to take your thankfulness public on social media. Use #ThankfulThursday on Twitter and Instagram each Thursday to share something you’re grateful for. Sharing it publicly can also help as an accountability measure. Try setting a reminder in your phone so you remember to post something you’re thankful for each week!

5. Volunteer

One of the best ways to spark feelings of gratitude is to get involved in the community. Find a volunteer opportunity, whether it’s a one-off or an ongoing commitment. There is always a need for volunteers at local nonprofits around the holidays, but try to keep volunteering on your calendar well into the winter and spring months as those organizations often see a drop in volunteering after the holiday rush. Volunteering can serve as a helpful reminder to be thankful for what you have. It can also help you forge meaningful relationships in your community!

6. Ask “What are You Thankful for Today?”

Speaking your gratitude out loud can be helpful. Try it with your spouse, roommate, friend, or anyone you talk to regularly! You can be each other’s accountability partners and remind one another to practice gratitude. You can even simplify your question and just ask, “What was the best part of your day?”

7. Create a Gratitude Jar

Why let tiny moments you’re grateful for slip away? Create a gratitude jar to capture and remember them! It can be as simple as a mason jar that you drop slips of paper into. Each time something small happens that you’re thankful for, write it down and drop it in the jar. Celebrate and savor those grateful feelings at New Year’s by dumping the jar out and re-reading all your notes!

Tis the season for gratitude, but we’re all for extending that season to be a year-round thing! As you start your gratitude practice, remember to be realistic. If you’re not a morning person, don’t plan to do your gratitude journaling at 7am. Set goals that are attainable—you don’t have to implement everything on this list. And remember, go easy on yourself! If you miss a day, or have a grumpy day where you just need to vent, that’s okay. You’re already well on your way to a more gratitude-focused mindset.