Home » Happiness Tip: Practice Gratitude Every Single Day

Happiness Tip: Practice Gratitude Every Single Day

If we want to be happy we need to practice gratitude. Deliberately and consistently — or we’ll end up feeling entitled rather than satisfied.

Here are my three favorite gratitude practices:

(1)   On Thanksgiving, we appreciate each other by writing on our dinner table place cards. The kids make giant construction paper place cards for each guest, and as people arrive and mingle, we each take some time to sit down at the table and write on the inside of each place card something that we love or appreciate about them.

(2)   Several times a week, I take a photograph of something I find beautiful or inspiring, or something I feel grateful for. Sometimes I post them here.

(3)   Everyday, I ask my kids about three good things. They might share good things that happened to them that day, or good things they did themselves, or even something good that hasn’t happened yet, that they are anticipating.

Take Action: If you don’t already have one, pick a gratitude practice to start this week. Make a plan to make your gratitude practice a habit (don’t skip this part). What will remind you to practice?

How do you foster gratitude in your life? Inspire others by leaving a comment below. 

This happiness tip is excerpted from my Greater Good blog. Read more about these practices here.


  1. AEC says:

    Every night at dinner we ask each person at the table “what made you happy today”? if someone is hurting or has had a rough day we will also ask “what made you sad today”? The rule is, if you can’t think of something to share, then you must at least name one thing for which you are grateful. It has really helped all of us focus on the abundance in our lives and has given us great insight into what matters to each person in the family.

    • mama_g says:

      We do the same. So interesting to see what things come up, especially with our three-year-old who is often grateful for a moment in her day. We started with a moment of silence before dinner, and now try to  have the moment of gratitude before eating when we are all together and can listen to each other in turn without interruptions. It’s a good lesson not just for our children, but for us, to be quiet and listen.

      • Deneen says:

        We just started this practice, as a result of having a conversation with a priest friend that recommended a book called “Sleeping with Bread”.  I have yet to read the book but just knowing that we are trying to help our son not be so worried, and consequently emotional, over the the “small stuff” has helped him in his day.  In the last week, he has not been able to recall anything that made him sad in his day! 

  2. Deneen says:

    Every day, I start my daily drive with prayers, and remind myself, “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad”.
    It is a simple but powerful reminder that I have been given a blessing in the day alone.  Every thing else is BONUS! 

  3. Shannon says:

    Each night before bed, my five year old talks about the things she is thankful for.  We don’t have a rule for “how many”…sometimes it’s 3, other times it’s 6 or 7!  I scribe them in a little journal.  We look back every now and then and we can see all of the wonderful things she experiences in her life.  We’re getting into the habit…we know this, because she’ll remind us to get out her journal as she crawls into bed 🙂  SDH

  4. Cynthia Eaton says:

    I look at the practice of being fully present in any given moment—that is to say “noticing what I experience through my senses” —as a way of practicing gratitude on a daily basis. What I experience fully enables me to find the language to express authentic appreciation to those around me. 

    I love these “Raising Happiness” Tip sheets.  They are always so uplifting, and I feel that your efforts, indeed cultivate and  strengthen the Happiness community-at-large in practical ways. What a great use of modern media!

  5. Nancy Davis Kho says:

    What a lovely Thanksgiving tradition, Christine – if someone weren’t feeding me this year, I’d definitely institute it at my table :). Our bedtime mantra is the “what was your high point of the day? what was your low point?” question. The low point helps me figure out why someone is particularly crabby or stressed…The high point is usually pretty small – playing with friends, snuggling in bed right now, cupcakes for dessert. But it’s a nice reminder that our high points don’t have to be a trip to Disneyland or a new dress!

  6. Sue Kearney says:

    Christine, I love this, so dear to my heart, and in fact very close to my own practice. Stay tuned, I’m launching the 2012 Gratitude Challenge next week. Hope you’ll join in (looks like it’ll be easy for you; you’re a pro!)


  7. Denise Flora says:

    Thanks for this reminder, and place to share.  Here are some things I do…

    Every time I pull into my driveway I say, “Hooray!  I made it safely home again!”  and before we eat we say, “Thank Goodness, we get to eat again!”…oh and I have an alarm on my phone set for sunset.  So whatever I’m doing I pause to go outside and see what show is up there in the sky tonight!

  8. Info says:

    When I notice I am starting to feel discouraged, I immediately create a booster shot of happiness by grabbing the nearest pen and paper and writing stream of consciousness style things i like and things I am grateful for. It takes less than 10 minutes and I experience an immediate shift. Quick. Write down 50 thins you like. See what happens.
    Johanna Vanderpol, Happiness Coach

  9. Christine Carter says:

    Thank you all SO much for all these wonderful suggestions and comments! I’m deeply grateful for the Raising Happiness community — I really feel like together we are able to make our communities happier.

  10. doubleM says:

    I start daily morning and evening prayers with gratitude for all that is good in our lives and all the blessings we have received.

  11. Nfirestone says:

    I practice gratitude by helping to promote the virtue itself. In 2008 I founded ThankingOfYou.com, the Web-based forum for posting and receiving stories of gratitude (messages of thanks) for the people who’ve made a difference in our lives.  Since soft-launching ThankgingOfYou.com in ’09 I’ve seen many examples of the direct positive, and sometimes profound impact on the lives of the recipients of these heartfelt, detailed expressions of gratitude posted on-site.  I’ve long proposed that “gratitude is the most sustainable and renewable of all human resources” for its ability to naturally inspire and fuel the continuum of goodness to benefit humanity.  I hope to see you there!

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