15 Tips to Practice Gratitude For Better Mental Health

A family practicing gratitude seated together on a couch.
Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Gratitude doesn’t just happen… you have to mindfully add in little changes to cultivate it. Living your life with gratitude is something that we all strive toward. 

By making small changes in our daily routine, we can add techniques such as gratitude practices that help calm the brain and reduce stress. Gratitude also has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression

From positive psychology, we know gratitude has many benefits and even has a positive impact on anxiety and depression, as well as other mental health issues. There are many benefits for ourselves and the people we touch with our gratitude. The daily practice of gratitude helps to bring high levels of happiness and a sense of wellbeing that counter stress and mental health issues and build resilience. 

Here are tips to help kids and adults become more grateful, which has science-backed benefits for mental health and health benefits.

#1 Feel and express gratitude

With gratitude, comes an appreciation of all the things that life brings, big and small, and good and bad. When your heart is full of gratitude, there isn’t room for any negative emotions and positivism and good feelings arise. Expressing gratitude to others is a wonderful way to cultivate the practice.

#2 Make a commitment to being grateful

At least one time a day, say out loud to another person, “I am grateful for…” so you create a healthy habit that makes others and yourself feel good. Noticing the good things and actions around us deepens the mindfulness needed to be grateful.

#3 Shift your language, shift your thinking

When you shift to using positive gratitude language, your mindset shifts too because your brain will believe what you tell it.

#4 Set aside time for gratitude practices

Healthy habits don’t just happen, they take time to develop and they develop more quickly when you incorporate them into your routine.

#5 Let people know you are working on being more grateful

When we declare our goals, they are more likely to happen. Asking friends and family to join you in developing a gratitude practice can not only help you but it can have the added benefit of helping others too.

#6 Notice the Small Things

Don’t just notice the little things, celebrate them. When we only focus on the big outcome, we can’t appreciate all the little steps it took to get there. Being present and engaged brings so much more joys into our lives.

#7 Use a Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals are a great tool to promote mental health and can be used by all ages. Small daily actions like writing in a gratitude journal promotes a sense of wellbeing that leads to longer and longer periods of feeling happy. As much as we like to think that we can easily develop habits, we need consistent practice for our brain to develop healthy gratitude behaviors.

#8 Focus on the Lotus in the Mud

When we have gratitude for the lessons we gained during stressful situations, those problem solving skills build resilience and a greater sense of control. 

#9 Have Gratitude Reminders

Objects, pictures and sticky notes that remind you of who and what you are grateful for is an easy way to stay positive.

#10 Visualize Happy Moments

Taking time to visualize people, places, and events that brought you joy helps your brain to see the positive and focus on what fills your cup and help you to feel grateful. 

#11 Stop the Negative Chat

Whether it is a negative comment on social media, a comment about someone else or your own negative self-talk, switch to grateful language and the negativity loop breaks. 

#12 Take a Gratitude Walk

Nature has a powerful impact on the brain and body. When we are out in nature and exercising we experience a release of feel good endorphins. Taking time to be mindful of all the beauty nature has to offer can be an integral part of one’s gratitude practice.

#13 Say, “ Thank You”

Saying thank you can have a positive effect on the receiver and the giver. The people in your life will appreciate your grateful language.  We all like to be appreciated and making sure to say thank you when someone provides a service or helps us goes a long way. 

#14 Begin and End Your Day With Gratitude

You can only control your own mind and this simple action sets a positive intention for your day. At night, when we focus on what was good about our day, we shift to focusing on the positive.

#15 Smile

When we smile, that cascade of feel good endorphins that are released naturally reduces stress levels, which makes us more connected to our mind, body and spirit.  Smiling is infectious and a great way to pass gratitude along.

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. 

Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your child or teen struggling with executive functioning? 

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There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann: 

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If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s professional speaking page to see how we can work together. 

Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of  media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.” 

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2021

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