7 Quick Ways to Build Your Gratitude Mindset

Boost your well-being and appreciation during times of stress.

Posted Nov 24, 2020 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

DepositPhotos/VIA Institute
Source: DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

Want to create a mindset of gratitude? Take a tip from renowned poet Mary Oliver who advised that with each person, situation, or thing you encounter in your day, you say, “thank you, thank you.”

Here are some "thank you, thank you" examples to get you started.

1. Thank you, thank you, Zoom.

I'm sure you didn't consider this last year but perhaps you are particularly appreciative of Zoom or your online social platform right now. Zoom, Skype, Teams, and other video conferencing platforms are helping us stay connected. For many people, they are facilitating new relationships to form and solidifying others. Having relationships in life that are positive and meaningful is one of the most powerful pathways to well-being.

2. Thank you, thank you, people who offend me.

There’s a good chance you’ll disagree with someone or become upset by something said over the next week. It’s easy to be reactive and to argue back. It’s far more challenging to pause, breathe, and speak with care. It’s even tougher to say “thank you” to them or in your mind. But why shouldn’t we thank someone who offers a different viewpoint? Doesn’t this challenge us to be better? Doesn’t it offer us new opportunities to use our strengths. You might use your love of learning and build new knowledge or your critical thinking to examine the pros and cons of the opinion? Using our strengths in this way helps you grow. 

3. Thank you, thank you, loved ones.

This seems like an obvious one, but what is less obvious, and something few people do, is to offer depth to the gratitude. Rather than, “Thank you, mom,” or “I’m happy you’re my friend, offer a specific example and rationale for why you appreciate the person. You might say, “Thank you, Dad, for being there for me after I broke up with my boyfriend. You have always been caring and supportive of me when I’m down, and I so appreciate that.”

4. Thank you, thank you, nature.

Wherever you are, there is something in nature to hear, see, and appreciate. It might be the sun, the wind, trees, mountains, a flock of birds, a backyard pond, or one caterpillar. Pausing to give thanks to one element in nature allows you to connect with life outside of yourself, not to mention connecting with nature has been shown over and over to boost well-being.

5. Thank you, thank you, my body and mind.

There’s plenty of gratitude to be pushed out to others and the world. But what about expressing gratitude toward yourself? Think of this as intrapersonal gratitude. Give thanks to your body, your mind, and your spirit. You might reply that you have an illness, or that your body is breaking down. Isn’t that a time to be even more grateful — to appreciate the vitality that exists within your body and mind? As spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh observes, this present moment is a wonderful one, because it’s another moment you’re alive. You can smile. You can connect. And you can appreciate yourself.

6. Thank you, thank you, Higher Power/God

Whatever your approach is to spirituality, you can apply what researchers refer to as "generalized gratitude." As opposed to specifically expressing gratefulness to someone who gives you a gift, this is a more general gratitude you extend out into the universe. You might purposefully express this gratitude while on a walk outside or in a sacred space in your home.

7. Thank you, thank you, boring routines

As creatures of habit, we soak quickly intro routines and take many things in our life for granted — brushing teeth, washing our body, walking down steps, eating breakfast, driving to work. When we take things for granted, we are letting gratitude slip through our fingers. A simple thank you to your car, the cup of water in your hand, or the door to your room can help you move into mindful gratitude.

Conclusion

Allow these "thank you's" to jump start your gratitude practice. It may just give your well-being a boost, offer you a flutter of good feelings, and connect you with someone new.