Practise Gratitude for a Healthier, Happier Life

Gratitude is underrated.

In our fast-paced society, it can be easy to overlook the simple, yet profound impact it can have.

Gratitude is a powerful tool that can enhance your mental and physical health, improve your relationships, and increase your overall wellbeing.

By making gratitude a regular part of your life, you can shift your focus from what you lack to what you have, fostering a sense of appreciation and contentment.

In this guide, we explore the concept of gratitude, its benefits, and practical ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine.

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What is gratitude?

Gratitude is the recognition and appreciation of the positive aspects of your life. It involves acknowledging the goodness in your life, whether it comes from other people, nature, or even yourself. Gratitude can be directed towards big or small events or everyday experiences, and it helps cultivate a mindset of appreciation and thankfulness.

The importance of gratitude for weight loss

Gratitude is important for several reasons:

  • Mental health benefits. Practising gratitude can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, increase happiness, and improve your overall mental wellbeing.
  • Physical health benefits. People who are grateful tend to experience better physical health, including lower blood pressure, improved immune function, and better sleep quality.
  • Social benefits. Gratitude can improve your relationships, increase social support, and foster a sense of community and belonging.
  • Resilience and coping. Gratitude helps you better cope with stress and adversity, promoting resilience and a positive outlook on life.

How to practise gratitude

Gratitude journaling

One of the most effective ways to practise gratitude is through journaling. Set aside a few minutes each day to write down things you are grateful for. This practice can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life and cultivate a habit of appreciation.

Example: Each night, write down three things you are grateful for. These can be simple, like a delicious meal, a kind gesture from a friend, or a beautiful sunset.

Gratitude letters

Writing letters of gratitude to people who have positively impacted your life is a powerful way to express appreciation and strengthen relationships. You don’t necessarily have to send these letters; the act of writing them can be beneficial.

Example: Write a letter to a former teacher who inspired you, a friend who supported you during a difficult time, or a family member who always makes you feel loved.

Gratitude meditation

Incorporate gratitude into your meditation practice. Spend a few minutes each day focusing on things you are thankful for. This can be done through guided meditation or by simply sitting quietly and reflecting on positive aspects of your life.

Example: During your meditation, visualise each person, place, or thing you are grateful for, and allow yourself to feel a deep sense of appreciation.

Gratitude rituals

Create rituals that remind you to practise gratitude regularly. These can be simple daily or weekly activities that help you focus on appreciation.

Example: Start your day by thinking of one thing you are grateful for before getting out of bed, or make it a habit to express gratitude during family meals.

Expressing gratitude

Make it a point to express gratitude to others regularly. Verbalising your appreciation can strengthen relationships and foster a positive environment.

Example: Thank your partner for their support, tell a colleague you appreciate their hard work, or express gratitude to a friend for their kindness.

Voicing rituals

When you say something out-loud, you are convincing your brain that what you are saying is the truth. 

Example: At the end of each day read out loud what you are grateful for. This may feel strange at first, but you will get used to it. Make sure you speak loudly as if you are speaking to someone in the next room.

Examples of practising gratitude

Here are some examples of how you can integrate gratitude into various aspects of your life:

Personal life

  • Gratitude journaling. Keep a journal by your bed and write down three things you are grateful for each night before bed.
  • Morning gratitude. Start each day by acknowledging something you are thankful for, setting a positive tone for the day.

Relationships

  • Gratitude letters. Write letters to friends, family members, or mentors expressing your appreciation for their impact on your life.
  • Verbal expressions. Make it a habit to thank your loved ones regularly for their support, kindness, and presence in your life.

Workplace

  • Team gratitude. Start team meetings with a round of gratitude, where each member shares something they are thankful for, or give feedback to your colleagues and their managers.
  • Recognition. Acknowledge and appreciate your colleagues’ efforts and contributions, creating a positive work environment.

Community

  • Volunteering. Give back to your community through volunteer work, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to help others.
  • Public gratitude. Participate in community events that promote appreciation and recognition, such as gratitude walks or public thank-you notes.

Tips for successful gratitude practice

Be consistent

Consistency is key to making gratitude a habit. Set aside regular time each day or week to practise gratitude, and stick to your routine.

Example: Dedicate a few minutes each morning or evening to your gratitude practice.

Be specific

When practising gratitude, be specific about what you are thankful for. Specificity makes the practice more meaningful and impactful.

Example: Instead of saying, “I’m grateful for my family,” say, “I’m grateful for my sister’s support during my job search.”

Involve others

Share your gratitude practice with others. Involving friends, family, or colleagues can enhance your practice and create a positive ripple effect.

Example: Start a gratitude group with friends or family where you regularly share things you are thankful for.

Focus on the present

Practise gratitude for the present moment. Appreciate the small, everyday experiences that bring you joy and contentment.

Example: Take a moment to appreciate the warmth of the sun on your face or the taste of a delicious meal.

Be genuine

Authenticity is important. Be genuine in your expressions of gratitude, and focus on what truly matters to you.

Example: When expressing gratitude to others, be sincere and heartfelt in your appreciation.

Challenges with practising gratitude and how to overcome them

While practising gratitude can be highly beneficial, it may also present challenges. Here are some common obstacles and how to overcome them:

  • Challenge: Forgetting to practise
    • Solution: Set reminders or create rituals that prompt you to practise gratitude regularly. Use phone alarms, sticky notes, or calendar alerts to help you remember.
  • Challenge: Difficulty finding things to be grateful for
    • Solution: Start small and focus on simple, everyday experiences. Over time, you will find it easier to identify things you are grateful for.
  • Challenge: Lack of time
    • Solution: Integrate gratitude practice into your daily routine. Practise gratitude during activities like commuting, showering, or eating meals.
  • Challenge: Feeling uncomfortable expressing gratitude
    • Solution: Start with private practices like journaling or meditation. As you become more comfortable, gradually begin expressing gratitude to others.

Incorporating gratitude into daily life

To maximise the benefits of practising gratitude, integrate these practices into your daily routine. Here’s how:

Morning routine

Start your day with a gratitude practice to set a positive tone. Reflect on something you are thankful for before getting out of bed or during your morning routine.

Example: Spend a few minutes thinking about what you are grateful for while drinking your morning tea or coffee.

Work environment

Incorporate gratitude into your workday to stay positive and motivated. Take a moment to appreciate your colleagues, the work you do, or the opportunities you have.

Example: Thank a colleague for their help or acknowledge your accomplishments during a team meeting.

Evening routine

End your day with a gratitude practice to promote relaxation and improve your sleep quality. Reflect on the positive aspects of your day and express appreciation for them.

Example: Write down and read out loud three things you are grateful for each night before bed.

Social interactions

Practise gratitude during social interactions to strengthen relationships and create a positive atmosphere. Express appreciation to friends, family, and colleagues regularly.

Example: Thank a friend for their support or express gratitude to a family member for their kindness.

Gratitude and its impact on different areas of life

Personal development

Practising gratitude can lead to personal growth by fostering a positive mindset and encouraging self-reflection. It helps you appreciate your strengths and achievements, promoting self-efficacy and confidence.

Professional life

Gratitude in the workplace can improve your job satisfaction, productivity, and overall work environment. Appreciating your colleagues and the opportunities you have can lead to a more positive and collaborative atmosphere.

Health and wellness

Gratitude practices can enhance your physical health by promoting healthier behaviours and reducing your stress.

Social life

Gratitude enhances social connections and fosters a sense of community. Expressing gratitude to friends and family strengthens relationships and promotes a supportive social network.

Final thoughts

Practising gratitude is a powerful and transformative tool that can enhance your mental and physical wellbeing, improve your relationships, and increase your overall quality of life.

By consistently integrating gratitude into your daily routine through journaling, meditation, rituals, and expressions of appreciation, you can create a mindset of thankfulness and contentment.

Embrace the practice of gratitude today and experience the profound impact it can have on your life. Start your journey towards a more grateful, happier, and healthier you.

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