The Power of Gratitude: 5 Small Tips for a Happier Life

The Power of Gratitude: 5 Small Tips for a Lighter and Happier Life Starting Today

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”
Lionel Hampton

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

Maybe the simplest and most effortless habit for living a happier life is to take one or a few minutes every day to focus on what is already here and that you can be grateful for in your life.

It can help you to…

  • Lift your mood and boost motivation very quickly.
  • Find the things in your life that you want to focus even more of your time and energy on.
  • Not just take things for granted and to find joy even during the tougher times.

It is simply a great habit to cultivate that demands little but gives much back.

So this week I'd like to explore 5 small tips that you can use to cultivate more gratitude and happiness in your life.

1. Pause and look around yourself.

A first simple step to build the gratitude habit is simply to pause in your everyday life and to ask yourself questions like:

  • What can I be grateful for in my life today?
  • Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?

If you cannot come up with several things or people every day then that is OK. If you find one thing or one person then that is great too. Don’t get hung up on the numbers.

Just take a few minutes and see what you come up with.

Try to not repeat the same things too often. Instead, try to think of more things and people you can be grateful for in your life.

2. Look towards yourself.

Don’t just look outward.

Take a look at yourself too. A habit of being appreciative and grateful towards yourself is a simple way to improve self-esteem and self-confidence.

Ask yourself:

What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?

It could be that you were a good father/mother/friend in a moment of crisis this week. It could be that you finally got done with that task you had been procrastinating on.

Your self-gratitude does not have to be all about achievements at work or in school for example.

You can simply be grateful for your good sense of humor or that you help people out a lot by being a good listener from time to time.

3. Take a closer look at the very smaller things or what you may take for granted.

Don’t just focus on the big and obvious things you can be grateful for.

Think about what very small things you can be grateful for too.

Like the plant just in front of my laptop that I am writing these words on.

It is not a remarkable plant. But its simple beauty in the vibrant green color, how it keeps growing on just a little water and sunshine and the faint smell of nature is something simple I feel grateful for.

Another thing that I am grateful for today – that I may sometimes take for granted – was my lunch. It was a few potatoes with some grilled chicken and a dollop of sauce. It was delicious.

And, more importantly, I don’t have to go hungry. I am in the very fortunate position of being able to eat lunch every day.

Ask yourself:

  • What is one very small thing that I can be grateful for today?
  • What is one thing I may usually for granted that I can be grateful for?

Opening your eyes to the small and daily things you can appreciate lets you truly see more of the simple beauty in life.

4. Do it early or late in your day.

But how do you get the gratitude habit to stick and not just become one of those things you forget about or abandon after a few days?

Two things that I have found effective are:

  • Take 1 minute in the morning to get a good start to your day by finding 3 small or big things you are grateful for in your life.
  • Take 1-2 minutes each evening and use a journal to write down maybe 3 or 5 things you are grateful for about your day, about yourself or about your life.

Try one of these tiny time commitments every day for a week and see how it impacts your thoughts, feelings and life.

5. Express your gratitude.

Don’t just keep the gratitude on the inside. Express it.

Make other people happier too – and help them to perhaps pay it forward later on – by expressing how you are grateful for having them in your life.

Plus, their smile and the joy in their eyes when you tell them this will make you happier too.

Now, that gratitude could just be a small sentence. But it can have a big impact on someone’s day, week or even life sometimes.

So tell the people in your life.

Tell them in person tonight. Or write an email or a letter to someone a little further away in the world. Or send a small text message right now.


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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Each and every blog, well deserve a mention. They have known that their uniqueness and as we go through them, we learn new ways of improving our lives daily. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Anna

    Take a few minutes and write down two or three things that you are great full about in the morning and in the evening and do this for a week and see how it changes your life, that is a good point and I will practice that, Thanks for all your good messages.

  • MM

    Thank you Henrik for making our lives better with your positive thoughts. It has helped me during these tough covid times that the world is experiencing.

  • MaryJo

    I really enjoy all your posts and this 1 is really ?- I agree – keeping gratitude up front & center can keep me on the positivity road & you simple easy tips make it all easier to accomplish. Thank you

  • Leonie Egan

    This one word has transformed my life. Even if I drop something I thank God for the exercise. I thank God that I have food to eat when millions are starving. I thank God for a roof over my head when many are homeless. I thank God for EVERYTHING that I am blessed with …even people who are bad examples of humanity as they show me how lucky I am to have a positive happy mind.

    • Jessica

      I love the positivity, thanking God for everything, especially the not so great things, like dropping something. ? so much truth and realization there!!

  • When was this blog post twenty years ago? I could’ve really used it. Well, it’s never too late. Thank you so much for spreading positivity and good advice. Love it.

  • Joyce damsel

    Thanks alot

  • william ndwapi

    good points raised and truly worth practicing , much appreciated indeed.

  • Remarkable Blog Posts!! Great work Buddy.

  • SUCH an amazing list of tips, Henrik. Thank you for sharing. These are all so true when it comes to implementing gratitude, and I can say from experience that gratitude changed my life and made me happier than I ever thought possible.


  • Leo

    Thank you for this blog Hendrik. It is the small things in life that sometimes makes the biggest difference. For some reason I always stumble upon one of your emails whenever I am down. So thank you for reminding me today to be grateful despite the minor setbacks we come across that actually weigh us down.

  • Jadie

    Great tips, easy to forget the importance of the little things. My niece gifted my a journal a while back, I guess it’s time to use it.

    Jadie RN

  • Pauline Joi Liporada

    I truly enjoy this blog because it will motivate us to not give up no matter what problems we face. Thank you for sharing this with us, we are constantly learning new methods to improve our lives