This offering of 30 daily gratitude practice ideas ranges from simple actions to reflective meditations to weeklong commitments — all designed to inspire and support your grateful living journey. Experiment with repeating one practice every day for a week, open yourself to the surprise of trying a new idea each day, and/or use this list of ideas as inspiration for developing your own. Gratefulness practice is unique and meant to be personalized.
Our hope is that these gratitude prompts and touchstones will help you discover new pathways towards gratefulness — cultivating presence, noticing and appreciating the gifts of life, enhancing perspective, and actively living a wholehearted, grateful life.
1. Tune in to your breath
Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your breathing takes care of itself, moving itself through you, nourishing your whole body and keeping you alive. What does it feel like to become present to your breath? How might you commit to not taking this miracle for granted so much of the time?
For a guided experience, try this meditation: Cherishing the Breath: A Guided Practice.
2. Wake Up Grateful
Connect with the gifts of life through this simple practice from Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted by Kristi Nelson. When you first wake up in the morning, notice three things you can be grateful for—even before getting out of bed. Kristi writes, “Think of things that you do not have to do anything to earn or receive from anyone else — things you are already receiving from life before doing anything. This is a powerful practice to greet each day and helps you to feel centered in the privilege and gifts of life.”
3. Transform obligation into opportunity
What would it take to see the considerations, commitments, and responsibilities in your life as your riches, blessings, and privileges? What can you do to remember your good fortune in having people and things to consider and tend as you move through your days? Try this Obligation to Opportunity practice and notice how it can help your perspective to shift in most any moment or activity.
4. Think of someone gratefully
Bring to mind someone for whom you are grateful. Savor this image or memory. Try to allow the image to be held in all the cells of your body, not just in your mind. Notice what happens in your emotions and body when you do this.
5. Take a gratitude walk
Enter the meditative space of a labyrinth, or walk a short path meditatively somewhere near you. You can try following a specific gratitude walk practice or invent your own. Bring awareness to — and celebrate — the gifts being offered to each of your senses.
6. Celebrate what you are learning
At any point during the day, reflect upon one important thing that you have learned in this day. Take a few moments to write it down. This Guided Breathwork Meditation on Being in Progress from Alex Elle helps us celebrate the beauty of our non-linear journeys, and the ability to be grateful for our perfect imperfections.
7. Watch “A Grateful Day”
Take 5 minutes to watch Br. David’s short and powerful video meditation A Grateful Day. This video awakens us to the wonders of our world, reminds us about what truly matters, and invites us to notice the everyday gifts of our lives. Share it with a friend.
You may also deepen this practice by exploring the video’s accompanying practices and reflection questions.
8. Light a candle
Lighting a candle is a powerful practice for nourishing a sense of presence, perspective, and possibility. To begin, sit quietly and allow a sense of peace to enter your heart. From this place, light a candle in your space (or light one of our virtual candles). Create a grateful intention and settle into the peace of residing in gratefulness for a few, precious moments.
9. Discover the opportunity in this moment
Make the decision to see your most challenging moments today as opportunities. What might be making itself known or available to you in hard times? How can you cultivate even small sentiments of gratefulness for the gifts that come from struggle? Reflect on this at the beginning and the end of the day.
10. Savor waiting
Turn all of the “waiting” moments of the day into moments of heightened awareness. Try to be fully present in these moments to discover what might be blessings in disguise. Notice that the time between things is a gift. How might you enjoy this gift?
11. Send a card expressing your gratitude
Let someone know you are thinking of them today. You could send an eCard or a handwritten letter expressing appreciation and acknowledgement.
12. Read a poem
Choose a poem that speaks to you and read it a few times throughout the day. Notice how no poem is the same poem twice if you read it with true presence, and take note of what awakens within you. Share the poem with someone.
Add some delight to your email inbox by signing up for our Poem a Month.
13. Notice your hands
Think of all that your hands do for you. Can you imagine what it would be like to not take them so for granted and to offer them your true appreciation throughout the day? Try it. Notice how much your hands help to facilitate what you love in life. Take care of them.
14. Connect wholeheartedly
Reach out to someone you know is going through a difficult time. You do not have to have the right things to say, just connect in a meaningful way. It can be as simple as offering your presence, a hug, or a listening ear. Even a kind text message, email, or voicemail that lets someone know you’re thinking of them without asking for a response can make a big difference.
15. Press pause
When you catch yourself racing somewhere, take 30 seconds to stop. Take a breath, and look at the sky or the environment around you. Notice. What was begging for your attention?
16. Ask a sincere question
There is hardly a more precious gift than true inquiry and deep listening. Get curious about those around you. How does gratitude arise for you in this practice? How does inquiry unleash a ripple of gratefulness?
17. Answer a question
Exploring the magic and mystery of questions as a daily practice, we continually open ourselves to learning and to leaning into the great fullness of life. Over time, we can strengthen our capacity to trust uncertainty, recognize and be with paradox, shift our perspective, and engage more gratefully with the world and our lives. Every day, our Daily Question offers you a space to explore the expansiveness that comes with this practice.
You could also try asking yourself, “What is the opportunity for gratefulness in this moment?” anytime things are not going as you had planned.
18. Set an intention
Start your day with an intention to show up wholeheartedly to the many different kinds of things you do and experience today. Take a few moments at the end of the day to notice and contemplate if anything changed as a result of this intention.
19. Begin a meal with gratitude
When sitting down to eat, take a moment to pause and bring to mind something for which you are grateful, and dedicate your meal to whatever arises. If you are sharing a meal with others, take turns sharing your reflections out loud.
You may also consider calling to mind all of the people and aspects of the natural world that played a role in bringing this food to your table. Send them a “thank you” in your mind. Relish the blessing of enjoying a meal.
20. Notice the miracle of running water
Each time you turn on the tap, pause to feel grateful that you have access to running water, unlike so many in the world today. If you have access to hot water, notice this as as the gift that it is.
21. Do something truly generous for someone else
Expand into the most full-blown heart of your generosity. Do something generous as if your life depended on it, and then try giving a little more. Stretch into your most gracious capacity. Seek nothing in return.
22. Engage in an act of kindness
Offer a gesture of kindness to a stranger or someone close to you with no strings attached and try, even, having no need for recognition. Notice how good it feels to let go of needing or expecting something in return.
23. Clean up your corner of the world
Put a bag in your pocket, head outside, and make a corner of the world more beautiful by picking up the litter along the way. Your appreciation of the earth will be contagious to others. This practice makes Grateful Living a Grateful DOing.
24. Give someone a grateful hug
Actually give the hug — don’t simply take a hug. Ask first.
25. Spread love
Tell someone whom you love that you love them, and offer that comment a larger context by spelling out some of the things you appreciate about them and why you are grateful for having them in your life.
26. Make a contribution
Make a financial contribution to a non-profit organization doing work that you value. Accompany that gift with a note of appreciation for why it matters to you to have people working to advance missions with which you are aligned. Tune in to the ways we all depend on one another to bring shared values and vision into being.
27. Feel your good fortune
75 million people in the world are illiterate. Feel your good fortune as you read this, and as you read anything today.
28. Contemplate a quote
Think of a favorite quote that brings you a sense of perspective. Write it down or type it out, and display it in a place that will allow you to regularly reconnect with its wisdom. For inspiration, we offer a new quote — Word for the Day — daily on our website homepage, by email, and on our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
29. End your day with gratitude
Every night before you go to sleep, take an inventory of the things for which you are grateful. Let them percolate through your mind and calm your body. Name or write down at least five things that matter to you. You could also try this practice with a partner, friend, or family member.
30. Build a gratitude habit with a 7-day practice
Commit to a self-guided Grateful Living practice for seven days and notice what changes. Here are a few of our seven-day practices to explore at your leisure:
- Grateful for Love
- Cherishing Connection
- Nourishing Our Nature
- Wake Up to Perspective
- The Little Things
- Wonder of Wonders – A Normal Day
- Exploring Haiku as Gratefulness Practice (8 days)
Help us continue to grow this list! What is one gratefulness practice you’ve developed — or would like to experiment with? We invite you to add your own practice in the comments below.
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Number 1, about breathing. I have my own flavor, wonder if I should write this but maybe it is helpful to someone… I have a simple exercise that I can do anywhere anytime. For me, breathing is not something I do myself, breath is given. And it is the most basic thing to be grateful for. Breathing in I say to myself ‘precious lord’ (in dutch… but also 3 syllables) and breating out I say to myself ‘thank you lord’. It is that simple. The effect is I feel taken up into the tapestry of what is life.
The challenge is to not forget to do it 🙂
I owe gratefulness.org a great deal of gratitude for being a sort of gratefulness laboratory.
Niels, thank you for sharing your beautiful practice here with us! Also, I just love the sound of our site being a gratefulness laboratory. 🙂
Number 3, saying “I get to … when so many people can’t”, worked well for a couple of days in increasing my gratitude for my daily activities. Bur today it just leaves me feeling guilty. Any suggestions?
Hi Sharon! Thank you so much for bringing this question to light — it’s an important one that I’m sure many (myself included) can relate to. I think the key lies in this question included at the end of the Obligation to Opportunity practice: “How might awareness of your privileges — and the fact that so many people don’t share them — move you to act?” That will be a unique answer for each of us, but in noticing the abundance of our blessings, we can open up a pathway for loving action. I hope this helps with further reflection.
Wow! That certainly opens up a much deeper meditation. Thank you. I guess once I got in the guilt, I got in some powerlessness. Now to see what God would have me do. Certainly prayer jumps to mind. But I’ll let Him add anything He might choose. That was such a helpful reply. Thank you.
My reflection is that when I take the time to look at the photos on my computer and other devices, I’m struck by how many beautiful and awesome experiences I’ve had.
Hi Pam, thank you for sharing this lovely reflection! It’s a great reminder to cherish our experiences and a lovely opportunity to relive meaningful moments all over again.
I like to do #19 before most every meal to appreciate everyone involved in providing this food for us.
Thank you, Wietze for sharing this practice with us. It’s a simple and powerful thing to pause for a few moments before each meal to contemplate the wonder of the food before us and all of the varying elements that made that possible.
I think food, especially vegetables, are so beautiful. When I see them gathered, I always wish I could paint an amazing picture. The colors fill my spirit. Instead I use my cooking as a gratitude practice. I feel the privilege of having beautiful, healthy, fresh food. I try to prepare it with care and little waste. I often add the extra touch to make the dish more beautiful, my work of art. I think of the people I am cooking for, even if it’s only me, and I imagine how the food will take care of us. When I serve, I give the most yummy morsel, beautiful piece, etc the reverence it deserves.
Mair, I love your connection of cooking as a gratitude practice. I appreciate how much intention you bring to each step of the process, and with such love put into every step I can online imagine how delicious the food you prepare tastes. Thank you for sharing with us.