You have heard about practicing gratitude, but you might struggle with actually doing it. Even though you know there are long-term studies supporting gratitude’s effectiveness, you feel depleted and can’t find the feelings of gratitude. It might feel like a hollow practice for you. If this is true. You are not alone. When we are in the midst of our own pain, it is difficult to find gratitude. Keep reading and learn how you can access gratitude even when it is difficult for you.

Why is it hard to practice gratitude?

There are powerful benefits of gratitude that can span from greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery. Who doesn’t want that? However, we are wired to notice what doesn’t work, what feel dangerous or is lacking in our lives. We are essentially built for survival. So when we notice danger we can stay safe. What this means is that we are not naturally wired for gratitude. We have to work at it.

For gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just saying “Thank You” to the universe in a rote, disconnected way. We have to learn a new way of looking at things and create a new habit of moving towards gratitude. That can take some time. So go slowly and make very small steps towards your goal. You don’t want to do this practice with a heavy hand, or beat yourself up for not doing it correctly. In fact, I have good news. There is no wrong way to do this. As long as you set an intention for gratitude, you are beginning to open up your heart, body and mind for gratitude.


You don’t achieve gratitude. You practice it, and I can’t emphasize that work enough. Practicing gratitude gives us an opportunity to shift our mindset, away from complaining about what we lack, and give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing. So it is not that you are denying the pain you are going through, you are opening up your lens to what else is there in your life. You set an intention to notice the positives and the other things that are there that you appreciate, it could be your warm blanket at night, a hot cup of tea in the morning, flowers in park, chocolate (my personal favorite), or the smile and wave from a neighbor. Opening up your field of vision to those things you appreciate will ground you more, too.

Gratitude isn’t about being blindly optimistic or ignoring bad things in life. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • Create a Gratitude Journaling habit. List 1-3 things each day or week for which you are thankful.
  • Make a gratitude collage by with pictures from magazine or print off extra copies of pictures you have taken.
  • Practice gratitude with others! Go around the dinner table ask family and friends to share with each other.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
  • Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.
  • Show yourself some gratitude. Find something in your day, something you did, and appreciate how you helped someone or yourself.
  • Start thinking of gratitude as your super power!

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover a new hopeful feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work!