Following Jesus

Five Ways to Practice Gratitude

October 22, 2019 by

For reflections on faith, family, food and day-to-day life at Danthonia Bruderhof, follow Norann on Twitter and YouTube.

Finding one simple thing to give thanks for, and writing it down, started a chain reaction. I found another, and another. I wrote each one down, in a numbered list. I began, inch by inch, to move away from the void and into a place of relative OK-ness, then hope, and finally joy.

Gratitude, celebration, giving thanks – even for the smallest of gifts – became a new way of living for me, a kind of oxygen I couldn’t get enough of, a transformative way of being. I filled my first “gratitude journal,” and kept going.

photo of coffee and red peppers

Here are my five favorite ways to practice gratitude:

  1. Set time aside each day to make a list of what you are thankful for. Start with the tiniest details, and write down even just one thing. On days when you’re feeling empty – or just wanting an excuse to smile – go back and read some of your list. Ann Voskamp says it best: “When I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.”
  2. Tell other people “thank you” when they do something kind for you, no matter how small the deed.
  3. Don’t allow other people’s bitterness or negativity, or any other outward circumstance, to influence your inner peace. Look for the best in everyone, and believe and say the best about them.
  4. Anger, disappointment, failure, and frustration are parts of life, but don’t let them become your default emotions. Don’t be complacent and resign yourself to victimhood. Choosing to live from a place of gratitude brings peace.
  5. Build gratitude around you with small, daily, unexpected, undeserved acts of love, compassion, grace, and forgiveness.

Follow me on Twitter @NorannV. Over at Plough, I wrote about giving thanks in hard times. You can read my piece in its entirety here.

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About the author

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Norann Voll

Norann Voll lived in New York’s Hudson Valley until moving to the Danthonia Bruderhof in New South Wales, Australia in 2002...

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  • Thank you, Liz, I'm so glad you enjoyed this piece. Good luck with your class!

    Norann Voll
  • Thank you for sharing these wonderful insights on gratitude. I came up this week in a class that I am taking and here I am searching for more and found this site

    Liz Ballard
  • So glad you found this post helpful, Jacquie.

    Norann Voll
  • Thank you for pointing me in the way of making my prayer life more meaningful and hopefully letting people see a better person.

    Jacquie Watson
  • Thanks, Sally, I need to work on all of them as well, every day!

    Norann Voll
  • This should have a like button!

    Sue Prochak
  • I think your five points are well put and I need to work on all of them.

    Sally Gerard