Wondering how to practice gratitude in the new year? No doubt you’ve heard of the many benefits of practicing gratitude and yet still the concept can be a little intimidating, if not outright confusing. Being a San Francisco therapist, I’ve noticed that humans tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. While that’s a discussion for another time, learning how to practice gratitude doesn’t have to be difficult at all. In fact, it’s pretty straight forward.

On the other hand, you might not be convinced of the many health benefits of practicing gratitude. You might be wondering why you’d ever want to learn how to practice gratitude. The truth is, practicing daily gratitude, making it a habit, feel better, they experience more positive emotions, they sleep better, they feel more compassion and act more kindly to those around them (which starts a ripple effect) and it’s even been found that those who practice regular gratitude have stronger immune systems. All of that and there is no down side.

Of course, it can be difficult to practice gratitude when bad things happen. We tend to see only the bad happening and we forget to focus on the good. The problem is, by focusing on the bad we tend to attract more of that which we are focused. Practicing gratitude can be difficult in the face of adversity, but if you want to lift yourself above the bad in this world practicing gratitude will help you exponentially.

2017 might be a wonderful time to start practicing gratitude. So grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and get ready to learn how to practice gratitude, you’ll be thankful you did.

How to Practice Gratitude

Keep a Gratitude Journal – Writing down the things for which you are thankful is a great way to practice and really internalize gratitude. Try to jot down what it is you’re grateful for each day. Read it over the next morning to start the new day with a gracious outlook.

Look Around – For many of use we go to and from our destinations without every looking at what is really around us. If you take the train or ferry to work each day make a point of looking around you. Try to really see the beauty that surrounds you, where ever you are.

Practice Acts of Kindness – Whether it’s buying the coffee of the customer behind you or holding the door open for the person next to you practicing small acts of kindness each day can lift your mood and those who receive your kindness. In fact, they are likely to go on and share acts of kindness with others which can have a massive impact on the world.

Compliment Others – Similar to an act of kindness, complimenting those around you can make a huge impact. Complimenting a stranger can be a little intimidating at first, but it feels wonderful so is easy to practice. Compliment the librarian on his lovely sweater or the bus driver on his gorgeous mustache. Tell your mom she’s wearing adorable shoes and let your BFF know her purple hair is rocking it. You’ll not only make these people a little happier, but you’ll boost their confidence, too.

Say Thank You – Saying “thank you” should go without saying, but often we forget to thank those who are of service to us. Thank the mailman, garbage hauler, dry cleaner, cashier and all of those who help to make each day a little better for you.

Have Faith – Whether you believe in God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, The Universe, a high power or any other incarnation of the idea, having faith is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. Be thankful for all that has been given to you by your supreme being.

These are just a few ways to practice gratitude, there are many more and there are no right or wrong ways to it, just so long that you do it.

Thank you!