Person holding up a sign that says grateful

4 ways to grow your gratitude

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Giving thanks can make you happier. It sounds simple – and it is. We’ve rounded up four tips to help you make practising gratitude a regular, healthy habit. You can thank us later.

The benefits of gratitude

‘Thanks’ is a word you probably say a bazillion times a day without thinking too much – or even noticing too much – about it. But what if you did? What if, every time you said thanks, it made a genuine difference to your health? 

Turns out it can. Saying ‘thank you’ like you mean it instead of in a ‘my mind’s totally someplace else, but thanks!’ kinda way genuinely builds gratitude. 

And feeling grateful on the reg is a real health kick. And a free one. It can help you sleep better, do more exercise, feel happier and less stressed, bounce back quicker from setbacks and you’ll have more patience, too. It’s a no brainer. Who doesn’t want more of all that?

Here’s how to grow your gratitude (without too much effort).

1. Whenever you say ‘thanks’, stop 

And take in why – and what – it is that you’re saying thanks for. 

As has been shown, practising saying ‘thank you’ in a sincere and meaningful way is a research-approved gratitude-building technique, which is really handy considering the number of times every single day you probably get the chance to say it, right?

2. Prioritise experiences regularly

You might be in a social-media-official relationship with those new sneakers you just bought, but are you truly grateful for them? 

Probably not, given research confirms it’s the experiences we have that trump possessions or any new stuff we buy when it comes to feeling grateful – like, every time. 

So, make it a priority to do something you love doing frequently. Shopping can wait. 

3. Make gratitude a weekly habit

Journaling what you’re grateful for at the end of every day works – so do that if it suits you. But if your calendar’s already jammed, simply taking some time out at the end of every week to ‘count your blessings’ can help your gratitude grow, too. 

To make it work, set aside a few minutes once a week – ideally at the same time each week so it becomes a habit – and write down three things that you’ve been grateful for over the past seven days.

If it turns out that you can’t remember a whole lot to be grateful for when you’ve reached your weekly ‘gratitude window’, here’s the fix: snap those ‘grateful’ moments with your phone whenever they happen during the week. 

As well as jogging your memory, research shows that photographing special moments can cultivate gratitude all on its own.

4. Get a good night’s sleep

This’ll likely happen the more you grow your gratitude – but it works the other way, too. 

Turns out that when you’re sleep deprived, feeling less grateful is a natural state of mind – yep, even if you’ve made the effort to say thanks like you mean it, done a few things you love and written down three things you’re thankful for this week. 

So, try not to let being tired steal your gratitude. And if you’re struggling to feel grateful, ask yourself whether an early night might help.