How to Be Happy by Using Gratitude

Gratitude isn't just a nice-to-have. It's an essential component for success and good mental health. And you can actually learn to practice gratitude every day. Get-It-Done Guy explains how.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #339

Gratitude Is a Skill

You can learn gratitude simply by practicing. Take out a piece of paper and list 10 things you're grateful for. The things can be huge. "I give thanks for inheriting a lifetime supply of Oreo Ice Cream cake." Or they can be small. "I give thanks that the tree provides shade from the noon sun." Find things you're truly grateful for, and spend a few seconds feeling truly grateful for each one. Just let yourself get absorbed in the feeling. Voila! You've just begun to practice gratitude, for real.

When you're in a good frame of mind, you'll make better decisions.

Once you've done that a few times, you can even practice the glass 10% full trick. Write down a few things that really annoy, frustrate, or anger you. Then sit with each one until you can find something to be grateful for in the situation. If you're angry at the car that cut you off on your way to the grocery store, you might be grateful that you had enough time to slam on the brakes, and no one was hurt. Remember: this isn't about finding what's true; it's about finding what you can be grateful for that will help you be in a more resourceful state of mind.

Shmoopie left socks on the floor? Be grateful! Every time you see those socks, remember that someone loves you! Someone who's messy, to be sure, but that's no small thing.

Your parents want you to get a real job and settle down, even though you like being a 40-something bartender? Don't get upset, get grateful. They really, truly care about you. And that's more than a lot of people can say!

Use Gratitude With Your Shmoopie

If you want to turbo-charge your relationship, try a couples (or triples' or quadruples' or polynumeric) gratitude practice. Spend 10 minutes right before going to sleep listing the 10 things you are grateful for about the other person. First you say a gratitude. Then shmoopie says a gratitude. Alternate until you've each declared 10 things you're grateful for about the other. Before long, you'll start believing your own PR, and you'll find your relationship getting better and better.

Keep this light and fun! Gratitude research shows you only need 2 or 3 sessions a week to get the full effect. In fact, if you do it too often, you might end up rushing through it and not getting the same effect.

Gratitude transforms you, and it's all mental. By focusing on the things you have to be grateful for, you'll be in a powerful mental place to improve things. A glass may be "truly" 90% empty, but being grateful for the 10% that's full gives you a happier life, even while you work to fill the rest. Practice gratitudes explicitly, and even practice finding the gratitude among things that bug you. Do it with your shmoopie twice a week, and revolutionize your relationship.

In the end, even Grandma Cuddles grudgingly admitted that foreclosed or not, it was nice to spend so many years in a daycare center with platinum-plated bathroom fixtures.

I'm Stever Robbins. I help people produce tranformative results in their businesses and careers. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

10% image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.