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Gratitude can become a way of being – an embraced perspective on the world around. That embraced perspective is one that must be nurtured like a habit. As with any habit, it takes consistent effort over time to build.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude arises when goodness in one’s life is acknowledged. It is a warm feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for the people and things that surround us. When invited to identify what one is grateful for, ideas like family, friends, good health, and a steady job are examples of what we might instinctively consider. Complementing these examples are moments we might unintentionally let drift by like the smile from a stranger, the sun shining on a winter day, laughter with a parent, reading a good book, exchanging ideas with a young mind, and eating a favorite food. Moments like these, big and small, present goodness. Gratitude opens eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to this goodness, creating opportunities for thanks. 

Benefits of gratitude:

Whether exploring scientific research or simply acknowledging its intrinsic value, the benefits of practicing gratitude on our overall wellbeing are numerous, and may include:

  • Strengthening resilience
  • Increasing energy
  • Improving sleep
  • Greater happiness
  • Boosting self-esteem
  • Bettering mood
  • Reducing negative thinking
  • Improving satisfaction with daily life

Questions to Prompt Gratitude:

Dr. Joel Wong created a list of 100 gratitude questions that may serve as helpful prompts as one begins, or continues to, practice gratitude. See an excerpt of those questions below: 

  • With whom did I have an enjoyable conversation this week?
  • What do I like about the weather today?
  • What do I appreciate about the view from my office/workplace window?
  • Who makes me laugh?
  • What puts a smile on my face?
  • How does my partner/spouse make my life easier?
  • What went unexpectedly well at work/school this week?
  • What do I like about the mode of transportation I use on a regular basis (e.g., bus, bicycle, car)
  • What are some resources I have in my workplace that others might not have access to?
  • What do I like about my favorite hobby?
  • Look at a recent photograph – what do I appreciate about the things or people in the photograph?
  • Think about a difficult experience. In what ways is my life better now?

Research suggests that the practice of gratitude supports serotonin and dopamine production while lowering cortisol. These ‘happy hormones’, as they are sometimes referred, increase positive mood and emotions. Can you imagine having control over the amount of happiness you experience? We just might, by simply investing a few minutes each day to give thanks for the goodness that surrounds us.


Gratitude Really is Good for You, Christina Caron, New York Times, November 2023

Living Stewardship: How to be Grateful, Generous and in the Moment, Darrin J. G. Gurr, Novalis, 2019

List of Questions to Generate Gratitude, Dr. Joel Wong PhD

Can expressing gratitude improve your mental, physical health? Amanda Logan APRN, C.N.P., Speaking of Health, Mayo Clinic, December 2022

Dopamine and Serotonin: Our Own Happy Chemicals, Olivia Guy-Evans MsC, reviewed by Paul McLeod PhD, Simply Psychology, September 2023