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Want to Be Happier? Practice Gratitude!

Updated on May 12, 2012

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way

~Native American saying

I love Thanksgiving and always have. To me, it’s time spent with family, sharing food and creating memories. The ideal Thanksgiving would be spent with my sister and her daughters and their families. The reality is it’s typically just my immediate family because our closest relatives are about 10 hours away and Fridays are often back-to-work days for my husband. This year, with one son stationed in Hawaii and the other unable to get home from college because of a work schedule, it will be just my husband and I.

Thanksgiving is also the requisite day when we give thanks for all that we have. But why keep it at just one day?


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gratitude.

As much as I might whine and complain about my house that I dislike so much (too many negative emotions associated with it – long story), I’m grateful not to be out on the street or sleeping on a relative’s couch and I don't have to worry about food insecurity. I think of my neighbor who is my age and struggles with depression and health challenges and I’m thankful because I have only minor ailments and insurance to cover anything else.

Like many people nowadays, money hasn’t been exactly free flowing for a couple of years and it’s been tighter at some times than at others. So when a small windfall would come in – a refund for a forgotten bill that was overpaid or a little bonus with a paycheck – I would send up a silent prayer of thanks because invariably these gifts would show up just when I needed them. Sure, easy come and easy go. But I was ever so grateful to see them come just in the nick of time.

I read an interesting article in American Profile magazine Nov. 20, one that got me seriously thinking about gratitude. In 2007, John Kralik had a particularly bad year. On New Year’s Day the following year, he decided to focus on the good things and people in his life. And so in 2008 he wrote a thank you note each day to someone – a family member, a co-worker, a stranger – whose path crossed his. These daily notes changed his life, taking the focus off himself and putting it on the blessings in his life. In the end, he began to reap benefits he hadn’t even considered would happen.

For the past several years I’ve been working on my “gratitude attitude.” At times this has been quite a struggle because my husband tends to be cynical and negative. Believe me when I say it ain’t easy living with someone who too often doesn’t have anything positive to say about most things. It can be like a contagious disease one must guard against. I dare not allow myself to be sucked down that path of negative thoughts because of my own propensity to depression. It’s just too hard to climb out of that hole.

This is something Rabbi Henry Glazer, author of “I thank, therefore I am: Gateways to gratefulness” mentioned in this same article. “(Gratitude) can be hard to master in a world obsessed with tragic events and negative messages.”

How often do you express gratitude?

See results

Practicing gratitude can increase our happiness

There have been a number of studies in recent years on the intersection of gratitude and happiness, including those by Robert Emmons and Richard McCullough. Their landmark study disproved the notion that we all have a “set-point” level of happiness that cannot be changed.

For 10 years, beginning in the late 1980s, Emmons’ research had focused on happiness and goal strivings. Then in 1998 he attended a conference on what were considered the “sources of human strength” – wisdom, spirituality, humility, hope, love and gratitude. In what he calls a “serendipitous” moment, he was assigned gratitude because his chosen topic – humility – had already been taken.

The conference was the beginning of his research on gratitude and he found it to be “a deeper, more complex phenomenon that plays a crucial role in human happiness.” He and McCullough began a series of experiments and found there are a number of measurable psychological, interpersonal and physical benefits stemming from the regular engagement of practicing gratitude. Their results found that some people’s lives were transformed by this practice while others reported them as being measurably happier and more pleasant to be around.

Emmons relayed their findings in “thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier” and opens it with experimental evidence showing how gratefulness can increase happiness by 25 percent.

Tips on practicing gratefulness

Don't know how to practice gratefulness? Try one of these ideas below.

  • Try journaling. One of the most commonly suggested ways to start practicing gratefulness is to begin a daily gratitude journal. Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance, says each day she writes five things she can be grateful for that day. Her gratitude ranges from “amazing things” to “simple joys.” On rough days all she can muster is gratitude for what she calls “the basics” – her health, her family, her home, etc.
  • Send thank you notes. You can take your cue from John Kralik and send handwritten notes to people. Putting them in writing is better than a verbal “thank you” because it allows the person to share it with others or tuck it away in a book to be reread at a later time. And make it a note via snail mail rather than email; it’s much more personal and more likely to be saved.
  • Think small. Don’t wait for the big-ticket items such as winning the lottery that may never happen. Be grateful for the seemingly inconsequential things in your life – the sun shining through the trees, the turtle you saw on the side of the road, the sweet kiss from your toddler.
  • Meditate. Meditation can open your mind to new ways of looking at the world and has many other benefits such as decreased moodiness and increased happiness. That can lead to increased gratefulness.
  • Practice mindfulness. Staying in the moment makes it more likely for us to recognize when an opportunity to practice gratitude has presented itself.
  • Feel the appreciation first. Focusing on the specifics of what you are grateful for deepens your sincerity and makes your gratitude more authentic rather than just lip service.

The next step?

About a year ago, I bought Attitudes of gratitude: How to give and receive joy every day of your life. That has helped me learn more about the concept of gratitude and become more aware of my blessings. But I've come to realize that while I do a decent job of telling others I appreciate them I have trouble accepting gratitude from others. Something to explore as I think about my goals for the coming year and how I want to live my life.


Another hub on gratitude and blessings

My sister and fellow hubber Denise Handlon also wrote a hub on gratitude. You can read it here

Share your experiences

What are you grateful for? How do you practice gratefulness? Do you journal? Do you regularly send up a quick, silent (or not so silent) prayer of thanks for something good that has happened?

Share your experiences in the comments section below.


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    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      3 years ago from Illinois

      Completely agree with you Bedbugabscond! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Collins 

      3 years ago from United States

      I think that gratitude can change a persons perception of the world. It is self healing, and heals others as well. I wish more people would move into a mind space where they can understand the importance of gratitude in today's crazy world.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Jools99, thanks for the comment. You know you're reaching another level when gratitude comes on spontaneously, just an awareness of all you have and how fortunate you are.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Danette, interesting and thought provoking hub - I read a book about mindfulness not long ago which was like a wake up call and it also covered issues like thankfulness and kindness. I have become much more conscious of my life lately since giving up work and I really do feel like I am moving in the right direction in terms of being grateful for what I have and realising that money is not the be all and end all of my life.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Shea Duane - I agree with your comment about a problem might be a blessing in disguise. It's really all in how we look at a situation and if we believe there are lessons to learn from everything in life. Thanks for reading!

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Hi tammyswallow - thanks for the compliment and feel free to share this hub! I would be grateful ;)

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Hi neeleshkulkarni. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. I think that's a quote by Wayne Dwyer (def. not mine!). I can totally relate. My husband and I have been married 30+ years and he can be very negative at times. When he gets in these moods, I try to focus on how fortunate I am to have someone who has always supported my endeavors in whatever project I've taken on.

      thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Barbergirl28 - it's so easy to fall into the trap of negativity and a struggle for many people, I'm sure. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment.

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 

      7 years ago from new jersey

      Great hub. Everyday I thanks God in prayer for everything, and I know that my problems may be blessings in disguise.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      What a wonderful, inspiring message! I would love to plaster your hub everyway. Well written and well said!

    • neeleshkulkarni profile image


      7 years ago from new delhi

      it is this focusing on what we have instead of what we have not that makes gratitude necessary.I agree that when we express gratitude we focus on the positive instead of the negative and hence not only do WE grow peaceful and energized , we also change the situation into a more positive one.

      I am at a stage when i has started thinking that my wife of 32 years whome i love immensely is negative about most things and i have started getting worked up about it.I had also started reacting negatively to these outbursts of her which was causing stress.Just a few days back i at one stage sat back and said goodness heavens why am I being so negative-look at what she has given me instead of what she has not-and the world changed.

      your hub just put into concrete terms what the process at work was.

      I am grateful friend.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This is a great hub. I sometimes forget that I need to be greatful for the small things in life. This in turn has occasionally turned me into a very negative person. In fact, I am not sure how my husband stomachs me at times.

      I really like the idea of doing a thank you note to someone that has impacted your life in someone. One a day should definately keep the doctor away. Great hub and I am glad that I found this! :)

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      You are so right, alifeofdesign. Sometimes we do forget to be grateful for what we have because we have a "the grass is always greener" attitude. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 

      7 years ago from New Hamphire

      I enjoyed reading your hub very much. It's important to be thankful even for the smallest of things and I fear that so many of us are so consumed by the act of 'getting' we forget that what we already have should be embraced. Best Regards,

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      elle64, keep working at it. It's very easy to fall into the habit of taking things for granted but living more in the moment (rather then 'what if' or 'shoulda, woulda, coulda') makes it easier for us to find opportunities to be grateful. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • elle64 profile image


      7 years ago from Scandinavia

      That was such a good hub- I know I have to be more grateful- and I am working on it. Thankyou.The thing about being grateful about the little things are so true.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Marie-Renee for reading and leaving a thoughtful comment. Journaling can really make a difference in how successful we are in making changes, whether it's to be more grateful or to get a new job or anything else.

    • Marie-Renee profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for this Danette...a reminder for each of us how important it is to be grateful for everything, not only for the huge things/blessings but for all the help that we have received, even the small ones. love the tips and i can honestly say I have practiced some of it...journaling about it though is something I haven't done which I plan to practice starting today especially since its easy enough to forget. voted up this great hub!

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading, poetvix. I just told someone a few days ago how grateful I was for his help. The mechanic down the street had to replace the calipers on my brakes and noticed I had 4 bald tires. I know he must have given me a deep discount on the tires and labor and I told him I appreciated all his help. He's given me a few breaks over this past year b/c he knew we were on a pretty tight budget this year.

      Let us know how your New Year's resolution goes.

    • poetvix profile image


      7 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      I've been tossing around a few things to consider for New Year's resolutions, something I seldom do. This practice of practicing gratitude will be the first, and possibly the only. You're right. We, I anyway, have a tendency to focus on what's wrong and by doing so forget to think of what's right. Thank you for this and for doing such a good job providing back up and resources. Merry Christmas!

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      I agree about humor Dolores. A good sense of humor can see a person through some tough times. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      You made some great points here. I also think that in order to remain happy, a bit of humor helps. Sometimes, when times are rough, we can be thrown into a bad mood over little things, when we can laugh at the little problems in life. And laughter creates those good chemicals in the brain, that can keep us going.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Lady_E for reading and leaving a comment. Focusing on what we are grateful for really forces us to think about ourselves as people and what we value.

    • Lady_E profile image


      7 years ago from London, UK

      Lovely and uplifting read. I love what John did. It's always nice to have an attitude of gratitude.

      Thanks for sharing the Hub.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you FaithDream for reading and leaving a comment. I'm glad you found it encouraging.

      htodd, thanks for stopping by and reading my hub.

    • htodd profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      That's really great post..Thanks

    • FaithDream profile image


      7 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Beautiful encouraging hub. I'm grateful I came across your pages.

      Thank you for practicing gratitude on hubpages.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      anndavis25 -- thanks for the compliment, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. But - teacher's pet? Not in HS I sure wasn't. It wasn't until I went to college that I realized I was smart and a decent writer. Years of writing in academic areas as well as getting a journalism degree helped improve my writing. But like many writers, I read what I write and often think, Ewww, I wrote THAT?!

    • anndavis25 profile image


      7 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

      My goodness, you are a good writer. I bet you were the teacher's pet. Love this hub. Up and awesome

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Cara, I agree, I don't think I would be able to do a note a day, either and was thinking once a week. And soliciting suggestions on books to read from a couple of the hubbers here. See you next year, haha.

    • cardelean profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      No wishing for the lotto ticket huh? Just kidding. I do try to practice gratitude each day as well. I may tried the journal a couple of years ago and couldn't keep up. I don't know something about two little kids... I think that I will try it again and maybe try a couple of thank you notes a week, don't think I can do one a day with everything else.

      This was a fantastic hub and I am honored that we are your "chosen" Thanksgiving companions. Maybe next year you'll just have to come out this way.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      SanLaro - I sometimes return to a hub when I don't have time to give it my full attention at first and I appreciate that you remembered to come back to mine. If you were looking for something that could help you, I hope you were able to find it here.

    • SanLaro profile image

      Paulette LaRocque 

      7 years ago from Dominica/Guyana

      This hub is quite encouraging I glanced at it a few days ago and came back to look at it specifically, since I remembered that there were some important points on gratitude noted. Thank you for the reminders. The awareness of the opportunity to give gratitude is key.Blessings to you on ur journey...

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for the info. If I ever come across a deck in a store, I'll pick it up. Sounds like it would be very helpful to me.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      7 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      I got the cards a long time ago, Danette and have looked on Donald's website and in Amazon and they don't seem to be around anymore. But everyday I shuffle them and pick out a message of hope or solace or inspiration and it helps me.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      skye2day - thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I'm not much of a church-goer or Bible-reader but I certainly appreciate what you are saying.

      @Seafarer Mama - If your life is anything like mine, then to have gotten 5 hubs done for the contest is quite an accomplishment! Good luck on getting the others done

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      BlissfulWriter and Beata Stasak - thanks for reading and commenting.

      @Angie Jardine - Frankly, I've been surprised how this particular hub seems to have touched a lot of people. Most of those who have left comments appear to be actively practicing gratitude and I'm sure I'd have much to learn from others. In fact, I'm open to suggestions on what to read and your cards sound interesting.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      @Chrisand - Yes, it's hard to be around negative people and not get caught up in it. Unfortunately, my husband and I both had family members who were negative and when you grow up with it, it's a hard habit to break.

      @ Portamenteff - thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

      @cavallo - Lucky for you that you have always been a positive person. I would be curious to know why one person might be more positive than another. I'm sure it isn't all upbringing. Thanks for reading!

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      7 years ago from New England

      Hi Danette,

      Thank you for your lovely hub about Gratitude. Also read Denise's from your link.

      Thought about creating a Gratitude hub for the HP contest...but did not make the deadline. Am grateful that I had the chance to create 5, though. I'll do so before the end of the year, though...and I think you for the impetus!


    • skye2day profile image


      7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Gratitude to GOD ALMIGHTY for all our Blessings because HE is the source if we choose in Him. We have free will to choose. Without God and HIS mercy, goodness, grace and death on the cross for the sins of the world I would be lost. God wants none to perish.All will fall without the Hand of God on it. John 3:16

      I agree with you that gratitude is key and unlocks the treasures in the chest. Being grateful puts out the dark and makes the light to shine. Thank You Lord for your harvest and bounty.

      Matt 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these other things shall be added unto you.

      'GOD is the source let us not forget.' Abe Lincoln

      The Word of GOD is the Living Truth. God never changes Never leaves us nor forsakes us. Hebrews 3:13 I am so thankful. I am Blessed. He took my sorry wretched sins on the cross and by HIS BLOOD I am forgiven. AMEN That is worth shouting about. I am a Child of Almighty God.

      Thank you for reminding us to be grateful in ALL things without God I would have nothing!!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      7 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Danette ... this is an important hub with a timely message. It is easy for many of us to lose sight of gratitude in the daily grind against illness and financial vicissitudes but it is so true that by feeling gratitude it does help us focus on what blessings we have and it does lift our spirits.

      I often thank The Universe for everything is sends me ... even the bad stuff, because when I've looked back it has always taught me something worthwhile, something that has, in fact, made me happier.

      I have a set of 'God' cards from Donald Neale Walsh, the author of 'Conversations with God' (and before I alienate the atheists I am not a God fanatic ... and that is why my 'deity' if you like ... is the Universe) and everyday I select a message for the day from these cards. One of my favourite cards to draw is

      'Thankfulness is the most powerful statement to God'.

      And look at all these comments your writing has inspired! It would appear that many people agree with you. Voted up ... and now a follower.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 

      7 years ago from Western Australia

      Congratulation:)...great hub, THANKS for sharing:)

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      7 years ago

      I certainly agree that having gratitude contributes to happiness. Various sources have agreed with this.

    • cavallo profile image


      7 years ago from Newmarket,UK

      It is not something I need to practice at. It has always been my way. Lifting peoples spirits, ultimately lifts your own. Having a positive outlook on life helps too. Negativity is not in my dictionary. Great Hub Danette.

    • Portamenteff profile image


      7 years ago from Western Colorado, USA

      We do have so much to be thankful for. What I always say is "no matter how bad it gets, it can only get worse." Very lovable hub.

    • chrisand profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks Danette for this timely Hub on gratitude. I totally can relate to what you wrote about living with a negative critical person and how we have to guard against being sucked into the negativity. Practicing gratitude certainly helps in this regard. Best wishes to you in reaching your 2012 main goal of personal growth.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Gail, I was not surprised to read that you practice all that you said you do in your comment. You strike me as someone with a positive attitude (hence the name "happy" boomer nurse!). Working on 'my self' is going to be my main 2012 goal and reading more inspirational books will be one of my means of doing so.

      Hope you also had a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Comptrvirus,thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It would be nice if everyone practiced gratitude more often and I agree it isn't always easy to express it. We can only do what we are able to do at this particular point in our lives. 20 or 30 years ago I would not have thought I'd be where I am now and people can make changes in their behavior.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub about an important topic. I so agree with everything you said in this hub and I practice gratitude on a daily basis. I read books about it, say a daily prayer and/or meditation that involves gratitude, appreciate and notice the small things and let those I love know I'm grateful that they're in my life.

      I've done these things for about a decade now and it definitely makes a difference in my overall level of happiness.

      Hope you're having a good Thanksgiving with your husband and that your sons, even though they're both far away this year, are also able to have a good holiday.

      Voted this hub up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • comptrvirus profile image


      7 years ago from Davao City

      Thanks Dannette for sharing this article. Though sometimes most of the people nowadays can't think properly about gratitude and true happiness because if they really do then a world we live in could be a better and happier one. I'm not saying that i'm not a person of gratitude, though i admit that sometimes i'm not really expressive when saying thanks and welcome and it really bothers me knowing how short life is. Thanks again, i hope your article will not only give happiness to those who are looking for but will serve also as a basis of how we became a person not just by flesh alone but as a whole.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thank your Allison for reading my hub and leaving a comment. I know the UK doesn't have a day set aside for thanksgiving but every day can be a day to give thanks for what we have when we practice gratitude.

    • profile image

      Allison Hope 

      7 years ago

      How nice for you to have a "Thanksgiving Day", what a great idea, a day when you can give thanks for all the good things the year has brought. We could be doing with something like that in the UK. I enjoyed this hub and practicing an "attitude of gratitude" would make every day a special thanksgiving day. I especially related to the point you made about being with someone who is cynical and that if you allow yourself to be sucked down with them, it can be so hard to get back up, this is so true, and we have to protect ourselves from the negative effects of people like this - I'm sure gratitude acts as an armour against negativity. Great hub and thanks for reminding me to be grateful for all my blessings. Have a lovely holiday :)

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, Fuller-Life. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving

    • Fuller-Life profile image


      7 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks Danette for sharing this. Indeed we need to be thankful for all the things that we have. Even the little things that we often take for granted. Looking outside ourselves is one way of being grateful.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      @ Melvoy -- I had to chuckle at your comment about being free of you guys in the UK.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your insights about the difference between "trying" to be grateful and truly feeling grateful. Thanksgiving may not be a holiday for you but I wish you blessings as well.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      7 years ago from UK

      You make some very interesting points here. I think your last is very important - accepting appreciation is as important as giving it. I also really liked this that you wrote:

      "Feel the appreciation first. Focusing on the specifics of what you are grateful for deepens your sincerity and makes your gratitude more authentic rather than just lip service.”

      There is such a difference in how it feels to *try* to be grateful and to just feel it. Feeling genuine gratitude has to be the most joyful feeling in the world but faking it hurts. So looking for what you genuinely feel grateful for is such good advice.

      Wishing you and everyone a happy Thanksgiving. (though it’s not a holiday here in the UK - am I right in thinking you are giving thanks for getting free of us? :-))

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Yes, I had meant to include it when I wrote this (it's on my frig) bu forgot b/c I was in a hurry to get it done. Good observation!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette-did you just add the Native American saying in here from yesterday? If not, I must have missed it. It's nice. :)

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      @RTalloni – Since we’re talking about gratitude here, let me say, Sure, I’d be grateful if you did link my hub to yours. ?. I took a glance at yours and will go back shortly to read and leave my own comment.

      @Chasing Riley – That would be a good habit to get into to, starting each day with just a few moments to think about what lies ahead and the blessings on their way. My habit is to jump out of bed and hit the ground running. Thanks for reading.

      @debbie roberts – I agree about not telling people how much we appreciate them. Look how many times people lose a loved one and say, “I wish I had told him such and such” or “If only I’d told her how much I love her.” Thanks for reading and leaving your comment.

      @workingmom – Thanks for sharing on FB! ? I do find that the more conscious I am about practicing and expressing gratitude, the more positive my outlook. It sounds like you’ve got a pretty good handle on that already.

      @Fiddleman – It is contagious, isn’t it? Just as negativity is contagious. I used to be a much more negative person growing up but made a conscious decision quite a number of years ago that I had to make some changes. Old habits die hard but I am getting better at cutting the negative people out of my life (or ignoring them if I can’t!)

      @Teresa Coppens – Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Christmas is a time with all sorts of challenges, isn’t it? We try not to get caught up in the buying frenzy and if you feel you don’t have the ‘right’ stuff that can lead to feelings of inadequacy for some. Being thankful takes practice and changing bad habits – not easy but certainly worth the effort.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      @ ChaplinSpeaks – There are probably many people who too often pray only when they need help. I used to be one of those and that’s what I’m working to change. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing our habits.

      @truthfornow – Perspective really is everything, isn’t it? Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

      @ Dee –That’s a ‘cloud tag’ I made with an online program called Wordle. It’s very easy to use and fun. Wish we could be together too!

      @Ms Chievous – Thanks for reading and yes, there are health benefits to having a positive attitude. My aunt, who is now 87? 90? and very active, has the most positive outlook of anyone I know. She has told me several times that it’s all because of her positive attitude.

      @Sunkentreasure – thanks for reading and sharing your beautiful poem.

      @AliciaC – thanks! As I mentioned in my reply to my sister, I created that using an online program called Wordle – very easy to use and fun. Unfortunately, sometimes we get so busy trying to make a living we forget what makes life enjoyable.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Awesome hub. I try hard to be thankful for the good things that come my way of which there are many. But it is hard not to fall into a depressive state of mind when things go bad. We wouldn't appreciate the good without knowing how bad it can get, would we? This is an inspirational hub that I will keep in mind as the hectic Christmas season approaches!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great thoughts. Having an attitude of gratitude is a wonderful state of mind and I have found it is contagious.

    • workingmomwm profile image

      Mishael Austin Witty 

      7 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Loved this, Danette. Such interesting research on gratitude! I am the kind of person who always tries to be grateful for something every day - saying a quick prayer of thanks to God for the many blessings He gives on a daily basis.

      And, yes, I'm even thankful for the "little" things - like seeing a cute squirrel gathering nuts outside my window the other day. :-)

      And, yes, I think I am generally a happier person because of it, although we all have our moments, don't we?

      Sharing on Facebook, and now I'm going to check out Denise's gratitude hub.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 

      7 years ago from Greece

      As I've got older I've learnt to take joy from the simple things in life. However hard we think our lives are, there is always someone who is having a harder time, although it won't make our lives any easier, we should be grateful that we aren't that other person. Positivity can be uplifting, just as negativity can drag you down and it's so much nicer to focus on positive things and to be thankful for them.

      I probably don't let people know how much I appreciate them enough, that's something I could work on.

    • Chasing Riley profile image

      The Evolista 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I totally agree with you about practicing gratitude. I usually think of it when I'm having a bad moment. I try to stop what I'm thinking about negatively and remember how blessed I am to have a roof over my head, the ability to buy food, my health, my healthy children, etc... I love your tips about journaling and meditating. My goal is to start each day with at least 5 minutes of gratitude. Thanks for making this top of mind!

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting read with some good tips on why and how to practice gratitude. Would like to link this to a couple of my hubs on gratitude and Thanksgiving, if you have no objection. Thanks!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for this hub, Danette. It contains a lot of good points for me to think about. In a busy day it's sometimes hard to think about gratitude, but you have some excellent suggestions. I liked your graphic, too!

    • sunkentreasure profile image


      7 years ago from RUIMSIG, SOUTH AFRICA


      In the heart of every baby

      you’ll find the beautiful love of God

      In the sparkle of every shining star

      is the brilliance of God’s genius

      In every drop of precious water

      is the immeasurable kindness of God

      When you touch the texture of a leaf

      you feel the gentleness of God

      It’s a wonderful privilege

      to love God and say thank you

      There’s a very special feeling you get inside

      when you care for and look after God’s creation

      It’s so rich and so meaningful

      to be living each day to please God

      Giving God gratitude

      brings more miracles

      into your life.

      © Bernard Levine

    • Ms Chievous profile image


      7 years ago from Wv

      Very nice! I agree we need to be grateful all year long! There are several health benefits to having a positive attitude!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette, this hub is very heartwarming. I like your style here-the researched info along with the personal experience. It's perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday week.

      Thanks for sharing and also for the link to mine...I appreciate it; as I appreciate you. I wish we could be together this Thanksgiving. Safe travels to see Sam.

      Your tips on practicing gratitude are so helpful. I agree that it is important to start with where you are; stay in the moment and take each day as a fresh, new beginning.

      Rated up and across and passed it on. BTW is that a framed gratitude picture you photographed? It must be new...don't recall seeing that in your home.

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      7 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I think you are right about gratitude. Just thinking about a few things to be thankful about helps put all the bad stuff that happens in perspective. Good advice to practice gratitude on a daily basis.

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      7 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I think you are right about gratitude. Just thinking about a few things to be thankful about helps put all the bad stuff that happens in perspective. Good advice to practice gratitude on a daily basis.

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 

      7 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Great Hub! Lots of people pray when they need something or things are bad. We forget that prayer is also for expressing gratitude. I need to practice showing gratitude towards others - thank you for the tips! Voted up.


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