4 Ways to Practice Gratitude when You Don’t Feel Grateful
If you believe ingratitude creates a bright feature, good luck.
Ingratitude is toxic to you and destructive to your future. Gratitude delivers unequalled benefit.
The Big Five have been used for years to predict wellbeing and success. I’ve listed them below for your review.
The Big Five are undeniably important, but gratitude is a greater predictor of wellbeing than the Big Five. (Wood, Joseph, Maltby)
This doesn’t mean the Big Five aren’t important. It means gratitude is disproportionately powerful.
You’re not a hypocrite if you practice gratitude when you don’t feel grateful.
It’s virtue, not hypocrisy, when you feel like losing your temper, but don’t.
It’s character, not hypocrisy, if you show up for work when you’d rather be on vacation.
It’s always good to do a good thing even when you’d rather not do it.
Aspiration means you aren’t there yet. You can sincerely aspire to a good thing, even if you don’t feel like doing it.
Act your way into feeling instead of feeling your way into acting.
A collection of ‘trivial’ actions creates substantial impact.
4 ways to practice gratitude when you don’t feel grateful:
#1. Reflect on negative experiences you have overcome.
#2. Record one thing in a gratitude journal every morning and evening.
A few years ago I started writing five things in my gratitude journal every morning, but five was burdensome. I became ungrateful for my gratitude journal. Now when I journal about gratitude, I write ONE THING. Sometimes I write more. Other times, one is enough.
#3. Start gratitude conversations.
Ask people what they are thankful for. Better yet, ask, “Who are you grateful to?”
#4. Express gratitude.
Unexpressed gratitude is ungratefulness.
- Lower your expectations. Notice little things.
- Say, “I appreciate you.”
- Say, “I notice xyz. Thank you for doing that.”
How might leaders practice gratitude today?
What prevents people from practicing gratitude?
TY for the reminder!! Love it!
Best wishes, Sandra.
Often your column has great reminders, thought provoking content and interesting insights – but today’s really stopped me in my tracks. I know that I have so much to be thankful for but the small everyday niggles that annoy me can sometimes subsume everything else and I become completely ungrateful. So thankyou for making me stop and reflect
Thanks Martin. It’s a big deal when we remember that small things can be big distractions. I wish you well.
Thank you for sharing this Dan. Insightful as always. Reading this post triggered two thoughts: #1: Even if the outcome isn’t what you expected, you can still be grateful for the efforts the other person put in. And #2: If someone does something “not-so-smart” (others may say “stupid”), yet that person clearly put in the efforts, take a moment to think of the (many??) situations you did something not-so-smart and others didn’t be harsh on you because of that… A thought like: “I’ve been helped out 1000s of times with larger and smaller stupidities – how could I be hars on someone else who tries?” (BTW this doesn’t oppose sharing healthy improvement feedback; it strengthens that, rather).
Thanks arostraining. Great insights. Remembering the people who help us is a great exercise. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate all the people who poured into my life. Frankly, I often resisted them.
Your comments on failure are well placed for this topic. I like to use the term responsible failure. Perhaps that helps in this context.
Dan, I like you approach–write one thing in your Grateful Journal.
I am also going to tell one person everyday about something he or she does that I am grateful for.
Dan, I am grateful for you and the insightful thoughts you post each day. Thank you.
Thank YOU Paul. You make important contributions to the conversation. And it’s encouraging to receive your gratitude. Best for the Holidays.
Oh…and the addition of thank one person a day is a wonderful exercise. 🙂
Leaders can practice gratitude by celebrating the little and big accomplishments and building on that.
Ingratitude can set in when you are waiting for recognition or acceptance from others rather appreciate the little and big success. Focus on the positive, work on the negative
Thanks Ibukun. That last sentence of yours is powerful. focus on the positive, work on the negative.
It’s so true. Don’t wait to express gratitude because you feel under-appreciated. Sometimes we need to do the very thing we’re waiting for others to do.
I really appreciate this post. Gratitude is 100% in our own control. Best work I’ve come across in this area for a long time is Dan Sullivan’s (Strategic Coach) most recent book, entitle the Gap and the Gain.
Thanks for jumping in today, Jerry, and thanks for the recommendation.
I needed this so much. I have had a tough year, and know with my head that Gratitude is a key, but have just struggled to tame my negative thoughts. As always, your simple tips are just spot on.
Always insightful as usual.
Thank you Chef. Happy Holidays.
I try to be grateful for the things that haven’t happened to me more so than things that have. It’s not a contest, but there are always others going through times that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And everyone’s journey is sacred. An attitude of gratitude can 180 degree a baditude or maditude.
Thanks Karen. One of the ways to be grateful is realizing how privileged we are. That includes many others who face greater challenges and difficulties. Wonderful reminder.
I practice Gratitude each day by first thanking God for all that he has given me in my life. I’ve found that I feel, work, and come across better throughout the day when I start this way. That simple act bases me for whatever the world throws my way. I’m not perfect no one alive now is so it continues to be an active struggle to remain grateful with everything that is thrown my way. Starting Grateful in this way also helps me catch what is thrown to me and when it’s not something I need I’m better at throwing it back with a smile. I’m selective and particular on what I work on so that I can remain as grateful in mind and spirit as possible. It takes continual practice and patience to act so but the smiles are deeper wider and more pleasant.
Thanks Paul. I too am a person of faith. I find there is a big difference between thankful TO and thankful FOR. Both are important. I find both are humbling, but the thankful TO side of the equation feels more so. Cheers
Oh my gosh, you were ungrateful for your gratitude journal? I couldn’t stop laughing over that because I completely feel your pain. I mean, how many times can you write “Taco Bell” before you begin to feel totally ridiculous?! But I persevere, and today I realized there needs to be more people on my list, and when they make the list, I need to share.
Thank you Dan, and contributors. I always read Dan’s post at the end of the day, so I can read what you all have to say!
Thanks Mary. You experience reflects mine. I feel like a looser when the same things show up on the list. It is also important to keep at it and train myself to notice all the great things in life.
Love the transition toward people. Gratitude for things and events and other benefits is great. Thinking about people is an essential part of this. Cheers.
All the characteristics you mentioned above will shape you into a more disciplined person who can handle tense moments in life stress free.