How to Be Grateful

Three Parts:Altering Your PerspectiveChanging Your InteractionsPracticing Gratitude

Has your mother or best friend told you that you’re an ungrateful person? Do you feel unable to appreciate the beauty, nature, and love that is all around you? Are you obsessed with the things you don’t have, instead of being thankful for what you do have? If so, then you need to work on being a more grateful person.

Part 1
Altering Your Perspective

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    Make a gratitude list every Sunday. You don’t have to hold off on noting everything you’re thankful for until Thanksgiving. Every Sunday, get a notebook and sit outside for fifteen minutes while making a list of all of the things that you’re thankful for. Try to think of as many new things as you can, and always generate at least ten things, whether they are big or small. You can write, My mother’s endless love or The painting my roommate made for me.
    • Challenge yourself. Think of at least fifteen new things you’re grateful for every week.
    • Writing down the things that you’re grateful for will make you appreciate them even more.
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    Be grateful for your friendships. Many people are guilty of taking their friends for granted. You may come to think that your friends are kind of just there, like the couch in your living room or the tree on your front lawn. But that is not the case, dear reader. If you take your friends for granted for too long, then they will slowly make their way out of your life. So, every time you go hang out with one of your friends, think about how much this person means to you, how much he or she’s done for you, and how lucky you are to have this person in your life.
    • Sure, nobody’s perfect, and one of your friends might have disappointed you a time or two. But have you been a flawless friend yourself? Most likely not.
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    Be grateful for your family. Your family is another thing you should be grateful for. Your parents might have even been the people to tell you that you should be more grateful. So, take the time to tell your family how much they mean to you, to help out around the house, to call or write letters if you’re not living near each other, and to let the people who raised and grew up with you know how much they mean to you.
    • Don’t let a day go by without telling your family how much you love them.
    • If you were not raised by a family that treated you well, then this is something you will have to accept eventually. Though it is completely not fair, if you want to work on being more grateful, you have to focus on the people who were a part of your support system, not the people who were absent from it.
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    Be grateful for all of the good deeds done in your benefit. Throughout history, imagine how many people have contributed to where you are now through unnoticed hard work and selflessness. Realizing that you couldn't be where you are now if it weren't for all of these people is an important step in being a grateful person.

    • Some of these people have never revealed their identity. For example, people who write Wikipedia articles. For this reason, you never know much a stranger or a friend really may be helping you. Sometimes the most moral person can also be the most humble.
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    Be grateful for your health. Health is another thing people often take for granted, and it’s something you need to think about the next time you find yourself whining or complaining. Sure, you might have lost your cell phone or gotten into a fight with your best friend, and those things suck, but you will get over them and fix them pretty easily. What can’t be fixed so easily is a debilitating physical condition that can change the course of your life; so, the next time you feel like the world hates you, be happy that you have a healthy working body.
    • Be grateful for the air in your lungs, the clearness in your head, and the spring in your step. There are many people who are not so lucky, and who manage to be grateful anyway.
    • You will have a better sense of gratitude after you have your first health scare and then realize that everything is all right. But hopefully it won’t have to come to this.
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    Be grateful for your opportunities. Be thankful for all of the things you are able to do. This can mean going to school, going to work, having the luxury of spending a night out with friends, or the ability to afford that new jacket you had your eye on. This could mean the chance to travel or to study something that fascinates you even if it isn’t all that practical. Chances are, there are plenty of things you are able to do that others couldn’t even dream of doing, so make sure to be thankful for all of the opportunities that you are given.
    • Sure, other people may have been given even more opportunities than you, but that doesn’t mean that you should dwell in bitterness or jealousy.
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    Be grateful for nature. There is nature all around you, even if you’re living in the heart of a big city. Go out into a public park or walk around a lake, and be grateful for all of the beauty around you. Taking twenty minutes a day to walk around your neighborhood can make you even more grateful for all of the opportunities you have been given.
    • Even if it’s a rainy, gloomy day, you can be grateful for the comforting sound of the rain.
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    Look for the silver lining. If you want to be a grateful person, then you have to learn to see the positive aspect of any situation. Stop all of the whining and complaining and think of the things that do make you happy, not the things that are getting in the way of you and happiness. If you want to be grateful, then you should conquer your negative thoughts by thinking three positive thoughts for every one negative thought.
    • Put things in perspective. You may be upset because you failed a math test, but you’re not suffering from financial ruin. Remember that there are always people whose problems are much bigger than yours, and focus on being positive and happy about the things you do have.
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    Stop playing the victim. People who are ungrateful are always blaming the world for their problems and thinking that nothing bad that happens is their fault. If you want to be a grateful person, then you have to stop thinking that the world, your teachers, your boss, your friends, or your family are all out to get you, and focus on all of the ways that the world is helping you make your life easier.
    • Take control of your life. Stop thinking that you’re a victim of bad circumstances and focus on all of the things in your life that anyone would agree are actually good circumstances.

Part 2
Changing Your Interactions

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    Say “thank you” to strangers. When it’s warranted, that is. Thank the girl who gives you your coffee at six in the morning; she’s probably tired and in need of a kind word. Thank your server or the check-out guy at your local grocery store. Thank the man at the restaurant for holding the door for you. Thank the cab driver for giving you a smooth ride home.
    • Not only is it polite to say thank you to people, but it will also put you in a more grateful mindset.
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    Tell your loved ones how thankful you are. Saying thank you to strangers may be easier than saying thank you to the people you love the most. If you want to be a grateful person, though, then you should thank your friends and family whenever they help you out, or just because; you can just thank them for being there for you for all of these years and let them know how much their continued love and support means to you.
    • You may not like feeling vulnerable, but it won’t be so bad once you get used to thanking the people you really love.
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    Write “thank you” cards. Don’t reserve “thank you” cards just for your boss or secretary; instead, make a habit of sending these puppies out whenever someone has really helped you out. Maybe it was a friend you lost touch with who let you crash at her place for three nights in a row when you ended up in her neighborhood. Maybe it was a classmate who spent hours explaining electron configuration to you. Sending the card along will show how grateful you are.
    • Whatever the kind deed, writing a thank you card will not only make the other person smile, but it will make you a more grateful person because you’ll have to put your gratitude into words.
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    Take pleasure in doing favors for your friends. Ungrateful people are also known to be selfish, and to only want to hang out with other people if they can “get” something from them. So, turn that on its head and offer to do some favors for your friends unasked. Maybe your friend is having a busy day and needs someone to pick up lunch for her; maybe your friend needs help picking out a prom dress. Whatever the task, own up to it, and you will feel gratitude when you are helped in return.
    • Doing other favors for people will make you a less selfish person and will make you more grateful when the time comes.
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    Stop complaining on Facebook. This one is simple. Don’t go on Facebook and tell your 500 closest friends about the terrible day you had, about the horrible traffic you were stuck in for 25 minutes, or about how you lost your cell phone for the third time. Don’t rant about “haters” who make your life hard and don’t complain about how some people are fake and only use you. Don’t use Facebook as a forum for your negativity at all.
    • Ranting on Facebook and getting people to support your rants with comments and likes will only fuel the fire and inspire more ungrateful behavior.
    • If you really feel the need to share something personal with all of your Facebook friends, try to make it something positive.
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    Be nice to your elders. Stop thinking that visiting your grandmother or grandfather is nothing but a chore. Be grateful for your elders and the insight they can offer and know that they won’t be around forever. Get your precious time with your grandparents while you can, if you’re lucky enough to have them. If not, be kind to any older members of your family and let them see how much you appreciate their wisdom and love.
    • You’ll be old too one day, buddy. Will you want a grandchild who is counting down the minutes until he can join his friends at the mall?
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    Avoid jealousy like the plague. Jealously is a classic trait of ungrateful people. If you’re ungrateful, then you must be comparing yourself to other people all the time, wishing you were someone else, and turning green wishing that you had the boyfriend, car, wardrobe, or looks of one of your friends or even of a perfect stranger. If you want to be grateful, then you have to stop playing the comparing game ASAP, or you will never be happy with what you have.
    • Remember that it’s impossible to really compare yourself to someone else without knowing the whole story. Sure, you may wish you had as much money as your best friend, but she may wish that her parents loved each other as much as yours do.

Part 3
Practicing Gratitude

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    Volunteer. Volunteering in your community is another way to show how grateful you are for all of the things that the world has given you. Whether you’re helping clean up a local park, working in a soup kitchen, or teaching children and adults in your community to learn to read, you will become a more grateful person if you give your time to people who are less fortunate and appreciate all that ‘’they’’ have to offer ‘’you.’’
    • If you really like volunteering, you can even take a volunteer trip to another country. This will really change your perspective and will make you even more grateful.
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    Commune with nature. That’s right. Just going out in the park and sitting in the sun can help you appreciate all that you have in life. Whether you go swimming, meditate in a park, go hiking, or climb a mountain, communing with nature will make you see how impermanent your life is and how much you should appreciate all of the little things that life does have to offer you.
    • The more time you spend outside instead of being cooped up inside your home, the more grateful you will feel.
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    Do yoga. Yoga is the practice of gratitude. While you’re practicing those arm balances and doing those vinyasas, you will really be working on finding a connection between your mind and body that allows you to appreciate every breath, every movement, and every person around you. Yoga will remind you that the world has what you need and that you have what the world wants.
    • Making a weekly yoga habit will help you appreciate the small stuff and not feel like you’re not getting enough out of life.
    • Yoga is all about being generous and offering up what you have to the world. This is guaranteed to make you less selfish and more grateful.
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    Do a random act of kindness. You shouldn’t always save your acts of kindness for your close friends or family members. Help a neighbor look for a lost dog. Help the girl in the coffee shop who spilled coffee all over herself clean up. Help an old woman carry her groceries. Sometimes these opportunities will present themselves—you don’t have to come looking for them. And when they do come, it’s best to act with generosity and you’ll be more grateful for your part in the world.
    • Make a goal of doing at least one random act of kindness per month. Try to get this down to per week. Think you can do one a day? You’ll never know until you try.
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    Give your friend a thoughtful gift just because. Giving a gift is a great way of practicing gratitude. You don’t have to wait for your friend’s birthday to give her a gift if you really want her to know how much she means to you. If you see a cute picture frame at a craft fair, stick a picture of you two in it and give it to her; if you see the perfect accessory for your friend, pick up it and hand it to her in a small gift bag. It’s not the price that counts—it’s the thought.
    • Getting in a habit of giving gifts to your friends just because you thought of them and want them to feel special is a great way to be a more grateful person.


  • Thank everyone around you for simple things, (but not too much or else it gets annoying) to show your gratitude.
  • Try not to waste food during mealtimes.
  • Don't complain about things that you take for granted eg. school, over protective parents etc.
  • Read books such as Parvana and Parvana's Journey.
  • Try to be positive as much as you can.

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