10 Practical Ways to Grow in Gratitude

What is gratitude? 

A virtue by which we acknowledge, both interiorly and exteriorly, gifts received and seek to make at least some return for the gift conferred.

Gratitude should be seen as a life choice, a decision we make, a discipline that can be cultivated regardless of our emotions, feelings and external influences.

Why is gratitude important?

Gratitude opens our hearts to receive God’s grace.

  • “Gratitude is one of the secrets of the spiritual life that also is one of the laws of happiness… The more we cultivate gratitude & thanksgiving, the more open our hearts are to God’s action, so that we can receive life from God and be transformed and enlarged” (Fr. Jacques Philippe). 

Gratitude opens our hearts to receive the truth of God’s personal love for us.

  • “Gratitude is the surest and most powerful way to grow in the love of God” (Fr. Timothy Gallagher).



1. Gratitude journal

Write down what you are grateful for in a journal. Tip: Re-read this journal when you are going through a difficult time.

2. Examen

This is a short prayerful review of the day with God in which you intentionally thank Him for all the concrete blessings of the day. If anything in particular stirs in your heart, turn that moment of gratitude into a conversation of love. Remember: Gratitude should always lead to love.

3. “AIR”

AIR: Aware. Identify. Respond. This is a helpful acronym to foster gratitude throughout the day. Be aware of something you can be grateful for (like the gift of this moment). Identify that blessing. And respond with gratitude and love to the God who is always labouring to love you.

4. Mealtime

Before you eat a meal, say 1 thing that you are grateful for. Forcing yourself into a positive frame of mind is key to becoming a grateful person. And linking it to another habit that you already do (ie. eating) is essential to forming this new habit (it’s called “habit stacking”).

5. Thank God in advance

When you wake up each morning, thank God in advance for one future blessing. Start off the day well. For example: “Thank you, Father, for the blessing of this day. I know that You have great plans for me today and I thank you in advance for all the good that You will do in my difficult meeting today at work.” Remember, habits are like compound interest. The individual impact of this one action is small but the cumulative effect will be big.

6. Set an alarm

Put a daily alarm on your phone to remind yourself to say “thank you”.

7. Choose 1 person

Choose 1 person that you’ve had a difficult time with recently and write down a list of all the things about them that you are grateful for. At the very least you can write: Thank you God for giving me such a good opportunity to grow in love with this person.

8. Say “thank you”

Say “thank you” to at least 1 person a day. And have a consequence for yourself if you do not accomplish this goal, like having to set aside $20 for a charitable cause.

9. Gratitude rosary

Pray a gratitude rosary. Thank God for 1 specific thing on each rosary bead.

10. Gratitude jar

Fill up a gratitude jar. Write down your blessings on pieces of paper and put them in a jar.


  1. Gregory Smith says:

    FINALLY a post on something I am actually GOOD at!!


  2. Reblogged this on My Boat On The Rain.

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