How to Develop and Unlock a Tremendous Gratitude Muscle

How to Develop and Unlock a Tremendous Gratitude Muscle

How to Develop and Unlock a Tremendous Gratitude Muscle


People have written countless blog posts, articles, and books about gratitude marketing, being thankful for those who mentor us, and loving those around us. But is gratitude more than something we think about on Thanksgiving Day? Hopefully, yes.

Start with 10

Start with Ten

If you’ve never tried gratitude before, start with writing down ten things that you’re grateful for. Go on. I’ll wait. Then write another sentence about each of those first ten things. For example, let’s say you’re grateful to your mom. Well, of course you are. She gave birth to you. What other things did she do for you? She probably protected you. Maybe she made you cookies or helped you with homework. If you have trouble with this exercise, here are 100 Things to Be Thankful For, from Real Simple magazine.

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Strengthen the Muscle Daily

Here’s a great article: The 7 Habits of Grateful People. I like that one about mindfully using social media. And being grateful every single day, even for the little things. Do you appreciate your pillow? Having clean air and water (actually pretty big things when you think about it). How about your pet hedgehog?

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List Some Unexpected Things

You may not even realize what you have until you look around and see what someone else doesn’t have. How about that roof over your head? How about your health? What about being able to breathe? Having your vision? You get the idea!

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Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal lets you track, and, as you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), you may think of even more things to be grateful for. You might want to add pictures. You might want to set up a secret board in Pinterest to keep a visual reminder of what makes you grateful. Here’s a Pinterest primer if you need to get started!

Letters of Gratitude

Reconnecting with old friends through letters is a perfect¬†way to flex that gratitude muscle. How many times do we spend an hour just telling someone how wonderful, inspiring, and intelligent someone is? And sending a handwritten note is becoming more and more rare, according to this article from Harvard Business Review: Handwritten Notes Are a Rare Commodity: They’re Also More Important Than Ever. If you’re thinking of picking up your pen again, after a hiatus, handwritten letters are also a very good way to reconnect with yourself, besides creating a deeper connection with long-lost friends.

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What Are You Grateful For?

When you get more specific with what you’re grateful for,¬†you might be able to think of even more things. For instance, not just your car, but that your car gets 45 miles per gallon and does 75 mph downhill with a tailwind. (Well, that’s my car!) Are you one of the 25% of people who name their car? I’m surprised that the number is so low.

Thank You!

To the readers of my blog, I thank you. I appreciate the comments and your taking the time to read my words.


  1. Expressing gratitude is important. I’m going to think about this for a while.

  2. Hi Carol

    Right now I’m dog sitting my friend’s Shih Tzu.

    I’m very grateful she’s stopped chewing on my arm.


    • Hi Clement,
      Thanks for making me laugh. You might want to buy a suit–of armor! Sometimes little dogs bite harder than big dogs, but that is a deep subject for another day.

  3. Love this post, Carol – I’ve shared this link on another blog I’ve started reading – here’s the link:

    Sending you big hugs and enjoy the weekend! I’m grateful *you’re* in my life!

    • Dear Dyane,
      Thank you for sharing SlayGirlSociety’s blog post with me. What a happy coincidence that we’re both writing lists of gratitude. Thank you for the big hugs (sending some love back your way). I am very grateful for having you in my life, too!


  4. I see a distinct difference between the days that I actually sit down and voice my gratitude (either aloud or in my head) and go through the process, as you wrote, of listing things that I’m grateful for, and the days where I don’t. It seems so strange that such a small thing can have such a profound impact.

    When I’m not feeling particularly grateful, I just remind myself that other people have much worse lives than I have, and that can kick start the gratefulness. When I remember that a large portion of the world population has no clean water, can’t rely on getting 3 meals a day, has little in the way of education, and can’t feel safe for more than a few hours at a time, I tend to feel a lot more grateful for my life.

    This also seems to be a great weapon against resentment. Hard to be angry when you’re feeling truly grateful. Great post Carol, I appreciate you.

    • Hi Adam,
      Me, too! (I see the difference between days when I write my gratitude down.) Somehow, the focus on gratitude changes everything for the day. I’m not sure how it works, except it does work!

      Traveling used to be a way for me to see how other people lived, and how many didn’t have access to clean water or air. But since I haven’t done that too much lately, simply remembering or seeing news online helps there. So many of my problems are “first-world problems.”

      Thanks so much, Adam! I appreciate you, too. That reminds me–you wrote a marketing thing that I need to go read!


  5. Purple Owl says

    Dyane recommended this page to me and I’m so glad she did. I have just blogged about writing a gratitude list and I love your idea about creating a pinterest board.

    Thank you so much.

    • Thank you so much, Purple Owl! Yes, I love Pinterest since it’s so easy to create a board–and you can keep it secret as a sort of visual gratitude diary! Thanks for the comment.


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