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Ask a Specialist: How Can I Become More Grateful?

Monday, Nov. 19, 2012


Kathy Riggs

USU Extension family and consumer sciences professor, Iron County

Phone: 435-586-8132


Julene Reese

USU Extension writer

Phone: 435-797-0810



LOGAN, UT – Being grateful is a habit that needs to be developed, then nurtured on a regular basis. There are many benefits of being grateful and having a good attitude. One study found that grateful people are more likely to help others, exercise and complete their personal goals. They also tend to be more determined, optimistic, more alert and have energy and enthusiasm. Consider these tips for cultivating gratitude.

• Say thanks. It’s not too late to change if you haven’t been as good as you could be about expressing gratitude. Even if you have to make a note and stick it in several places as a reminder, people in your life need to know you appreciate them and notice their efforts. A sincere compliment to someone who looks like they may be having a bad day can help you feel grateful you are looking out for others in addition to giving them a boost. Complimenting a difficult person can bridge a communication gap or at least increase a level of civility.

• Show thanks. Even though you may still have car payments, a mortgage, the stress of the holidays ahead and less in your 401K today than you did last month, don’t forget those who are less fortunate. Find ways to donate time, money or service to ease the burdens of those who have less than you. During the holidays, there are ample opportunities to help those in need. Whether you take food to a local food pantry, offer to put up Christmas lights for a neighbor who is disabled or participate in sponsoring a family through a local charitable organization, reach out and do something. Helping others is a great way to show you are grateful for what you have and that you want to share it.

• Write thanks. Keep a journal or notebook where you can record those things you are grateful for every day. Even after a stressful day, it can be soothing to review the day in your mind and write down the positive things that happened. Not only will you feel more at ease after a long day, but it will likely give you an improved ability to keep things in perspective.

• Think thanks. Maybe writing in a journal isn’t a motivation for you. If not, spend a few minutes sitting in a quiet place and gazing out the window. Find the beauty in what you see and appreciate those things around you. No moment should be taken for granted, and pleasure and happiness can be found in being grateful for the simplest joy or the most challenging time of your life.

• Remember that if you live a positive, grateful, successful life, you will attract other positive, grateful and successful people. Making your life full of gratitude can only bring happiness.


Direct column topics to: Julene Reese, Utah State University Extension writer, Logan, Utah, 84322-4900; 435-797-0810;

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