6 Steps to Find More Gratitude in Your Life


Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.”  —John Henry Jowet

Gratitude matters.

A grateful heart is a contented heart. A contented heart is a simple heart. And a simple heart leads to a simplified life.

Gratitude opens the door to simplicity. A person who is grateful for the things they own will care for them, enjoy them, and waste less energy seeking more. They will experience fulfillment in the gifts they already possess rather than looking outside themselves for more.

But we live in a culture that preaches discontent. A consumer culture will always attack gratitude—if they can sow discontent in our lives, they can sell us their new product line or latest version with new improvements.

In contrast, those who can find gratitude in their current existence will be less influenced by those empty promises.

How can we find gratitude in a world that seeks to destroy it?

1. Intentionally choose it. Gratitude will never be a result of your next purchase, success, or accomplishment. It is available in your heart right now. And you will never find gratitude in life until you intentionally decide to choose it.

2. Count your blessings. A new day, a warm bed, a loving spouse, a child in your life, a unique personality, or a special talent… You have wonderful things in your life already. Gratitude quickly sets in when we begin to spend a quiet moment each day remembering them. This practice alone has the potential to change your heart and life immeasurably.

3. Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Too many people never realize gratitude because they spend so much mental energy focused on what they don’t have. Throw away catalogs and advertisements that inevitably promise you more fulfillment and joy in life. Those things are not sold in stores—never have been, never will be.

4. Embrace humility. Humility is an essential ingredient in gratitude. A humble heart finds satisfaction in the gifts it already possesses and demands less from others and life. Remember that no matter what your accomplishments, your life contains no more inherent value than the person sitting next to you… no matter where you may be sitting.

5. Open your eyes to those with less. Almost half the world, over three billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day. 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to clean water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Let those facts sink in for just a moment—and slowly allow gratitude and a desire to become part of the solution to take their place.

6. Find gratitude in difficulty. It is easy to be grateful when things are going well. It can be more difficult during the trials of life: death, disease, rejection, or failure. The truth is that no one is exempt from the trials of life, but good can always be found in even the worst of times. And embracing gratitude during those trials may be the one thing that gets you through them.

In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. And that gratefulness always leads to a satisfied, simplified life.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    Since embracing gratitude, I’ve definitely felt more fulfilled and content. It makes sense as the opposite of feeling in need of something more all the time.

    • says

      “Beautiful and deeply true article. Gratitude is the key that can dispel darkness and increase light in our lives. It may take some practice to use gratitude each and everday, but, once you truly get it you have an invaluable tool that can turn a not so good day into a better day as well as make a good day a treasured day.”

      Great article!

  2. says

    A friend recently recommended I read the posts on this site, and I have to say the very thought of becoming minimalist is something that is deeply pulling at my heart. Just the few posts I’ve read so far have really had my mind turning in a different direction, and I like that.

  3. Deb J says

    I have created a gratitude journal. I write in it every night. It helps me remember how good God has been to me. Even in the tough times, I have found that there are many, many things to be grateful for.

    • Marge says

      I too keep a gratitude journal. When I don’t write down what I am grateful for I notice the discontent start creeping in.

      • says

        I so agree with both these comments. Gratitude is a noun; the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. But in my humble opinion, I think of it as a verb – it is an action word. It is something I must act upon.

        • says

          If you want gratitude you just have to appreciate the things you have , don’t worry about the things you don’t and always be giving what and when you can. ie: your time, a simple hello to a stranger. Try to understand the less fortunate… “I used to be asshamed of my moccocins until I saw the man with no feet” Indian saying

  4. says

    Gratitude plays a huge role in my marriage, even to this day, and is a natural part of our everyday lives. All the small things, so dear….

  5. Tobias Michel says


    I m grateful for what you wrote above about Gratitude. Thank you, enjoy your life.


  6. says

    Lately I’ve been trying to write, at least once a week in the morning, the things I am grateful for in my life. I find that I ALWAYS feel more content with my own life after I consciously do this.

    I think it’s very important to consciously seek out gratitude because our society often is shaped to remind us of what we “lack” or “don’t have.”

  7. Susan says

    Thank you for this amazing blog, I recently discovered it on my quest for sites that could be motivational with getting rid of our consumer debt for once and for all. I am ashamed to say that I have been ungrateful and was always seeking the next purchase to make me feel better, which is certainly not how i was brought up. Six months into our debt elimination and I have completely changed my perspective on life and what it truly important. This entry exactly aligns with how I feel.
    Gratitude = Contentment = That Warm and Fuzzy Happiness Feeling! ;~)

  8. Pete says

    What happens when you do find that you do constantly think of what you don’t have no matter what you do. Not that you desire material possessions, but that you find that you are constantly lonely. That no matter what efforts you make to again companionship or build friendships they always seem to fall apart or never materialize in the first place?

    This is what I find to be missing in my life and the one thing I just can’t seem to get going.

    • Di says

      Pete, I feel for you. There are many lonely people out there. Try befriending someone who appears lonelier than you are. Volunteer at a shelter, a soup kitchen, a nursing home, a natural disaster crisis center, etc. Become a Big Brother. Your presence and your services are greatly needed and appreciated at these places. By getting out of your comfort zone and looking to the needs of others rather than focusing on your loneliness, you will find that you are no longer as lonely and discontent. You will discover a purpose for living beyond fulfilling your own needs, and in the process you will become more content and develop an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

      • Amj says

        That’s really insightful advice! It made me think that there should be gratitude even in loneliness because that loneliness pushes us into service for others. There really is good that can come out of any circumstance-isn’t the universe amazing

    • Tara says

      Thank you for being so honest Pete, you will truly help a lot of other people see that they are not the only ones who get lonely. Please don’t give up. All of us, every single one of us struggles with one area or another in our lives, it is our journey to finally over come it. For some it seems so easy to make friends, but they may struggle with an addiction or poverty that you may not have any problem with. Continue to seek solutions, new groups to join, classes to take, places to visit. Don’t go in expecting to make a friend, or being attached to that outcome, just practice going in with an open mind, enjoying whatever you can alone, and before you know it you won’t be focused on finding companionship, and that’s when you will. I’m sending you love, and hoping that you’ve made a good friend or two since this post. All the best with your quest! T.

      • Faith says

        I loved reading this. I am on a visit home with my in laws while husband is deployed. They want me to get radio in my old car for trip home. I told them I have made my selflern to go without music in the car. Some feel this is strange considering I have the money to get a new car. I have learned to listen and think more when go on long trips. I dont always need what every one else has. Less has become more to me. Have I lost my mind? Is not having music in the that strange? I would ride a bike every day if I could take it on lon trips.

    • Jen says

      It really can be hard sometimes. I once ended a 8 year relationship I was in. And my friends were all in different areas of life at the moment. I felt very alone and lonely. I started volunteering and really focused on meeting new people. Lots of the people I met did not turn into long term friends but I really enjoyed getting to know them. And some have become my dear friends. It really didn’t happen over night but was a process. Pete, you are not alone. I think we have all been there at times. Don’t give up hope. Explore all avenues of meeting people. I will send you some good thoughts :)

    • Weezie says

      I would suggest volunteering at a senior’s lodge.. There are many people there who have been stuck in the lodge by family and then no one visits them… It brings them and YOU such joy to sit and talk about old times and help them remember good times. My mom lives in a lodge and I go there as often as possible and the joy on people’s faces when you say a cheery Good Morning to them is priceless.

    • Bob Lyon says

      Hi Pete, thanks for sharing that. I find my perceptions changing on this subject a lot. If you are in CT I would be happy to talk over a cup of coffee. If we can use our experiences to help others it helps us to be grateful for them, no matter how different

  9. says

    “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”

    Absoultely correct. Nice job with this one.

    When you can find nothing else to do, you can be grateful for what you have — even if you have to be grateful that things can’t get much worse.


  10. says

    Thanks, Joshua. It is so empowering to remember that gratitude is within, and that we can bring it out in the open, when we want to.
    My wife and I close off most days by going through all of the wonderful things that have happened, expressing our gratitude in the process.
    Your post today reminded me of my friend saying that “the best things in life arn’t things.”
    Have a wonderful day.
    Looking forward to your new e-book.

  11. says

    “Yet, we live in a culture that preaches discontent. A consumer culture will always attack gratitude. If they can sow seeds of discontent in our lives, they can sell us on their new product line or latest version with new improvements.”

    You are so right!!

    If we can learn this lesson, the world will be a much happier, more contented place. Great article!

  12. spicycat says

    I found a great Gratitude app on the iPhone. While I’m still getting in the habit of using it every day, I’m already reaping the benefits. It’s a great reminder that no matter how ordinary the day may have been, there are many, many things to be grateful for.

    • Marge says

      Android has a gratitude app as well. Love it being able to write down my gratitudes at any time day or night.

  13. Faith says

    I loved reading this. I am on a visit home with my in laws while husband is deployed. They want me to get radio in my old car for trip home. I told them I have made my selflern to go without music in the car. Some feel this is strange considering I have the money to get a new car. I have learned to listen and think more when go on long trips. I dont always need what every one else has. Less has become more to me. Have I lost my mind? Is not having music in the that strange? I would ride a bike every day if I could take it on lon trips.

    • kris says

      My husband does the same, and he travels a lot. I’m learning to have silence more while driving, but I do get bored.

  14. Leah says

    I’ve been unemployed for 6 months and feeling pretty low lately. Looking at family and friends with envious eyes because of their successes in life and comparing my failures to them. I’ve been losing sight of what truly matters in my life, and to me during this incredibly trying journey I am on right now. I have to say these articles are very enlightening and grounding. I have so many blessings in my life. I just need to see them. With open clear eyes. Be happy for those more fortunate and thankful my eyes open each morning. Thank you for helping me see that.

  15. Hanna says

    Thank you for sharing these tips to a grateful heart. I would like to ask if I’m allowed to copy this article and print and frame it to hang in my home as a reminder. Also I would like to give (not sell) to some people I know who needs it too as a reminder.

    Of course I am grateful for the article even if my request is not granted :)

  16. Ken metzger says

    When I was diagnosed at age 46 with tongue cancer (non tobacco user) with a less than 50% survival rate my doctor told me to go home and write down 5 reasons I really wanted to live because if the treatment didn’t kill me the cancer probably would . I went home and wrote down my 5 reasons I really wanted to live and realized there was not one THING on the list!
    I am grateful to God that Je has helped me to get my priorities right ! Family , friends , good health , freedom to worship , and so many more non- things arey reason to be grateful today and every day
    Ken Metzger

  17. Dorothy says

    I belong to a FB group “100 Days of Gratitude” & have been posting there for over 1100 days. Adopting an attitude of gratitude has dramatically changed my life.
    Thank you for this fabulous article. I have shared it with the group.

  18. Dennis Hamilton says

    I so enjoy the posts on Facebook, I find myself translating them a lot to my Mexican family as daily inspirational messages. We are getting ready to relocate to the US from Mexico and am working diligently to drive the message you explain so well into their fiber before we hit the land of the consumer.

    So, here is me giving you thanks for your great writing and superb advice, you stimulate my thinking as well in the business world to help my employees lead better quality of lives and spend more time with their families. Gracias amigo!

  19. mimi says

    I am actually enjoying taking care of my home more since I don’t have as much to take care of. A little each day and I will get there!

  20. kris says

    I like to start every day with a prayer of gratitude. “Thank You for waking me up on this Saturday, …”

  21. Shawn Rogers says

    I had a near death experience last September. As the anniversary approaches I’ve been thinking a lot about how grateful I am and how the event has changed my view of things. This article is well timed for me. Thank you, I look forward to putting it into practice and I am grateful for your insights.

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Simple Living News Update | July 23, 2010
  2. Gratitude | August 13, 2010

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