4 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude

Today, Nicole from Treasure Tromp is stopping by to talk about a subject I LOVE – gratitude. Nicole just recently moved to South Africa, is working towards her PhD, and is an all-around sweetheart! She also has a great sense of humor which she often shares on her blog and I think you’ll like her as much as I do. Enough of my blabbering, see for yourself below! :) -Melyssa

Hi there everyone! I’m Nicole, the lady behind the blog Treasure Tromp.


My blog started as a way to document my attempts at finding life’s little treasures … and as a way to distract myself from my PhD program in psychology. Before I started my PhD, I received my MA in Positive Organizational Psychology (side note: my fiancé and I are both in the picture featured on that page but were not even dating at the time). A major critique of psychology is that most of the research focuses on negative aspects of human functioning, and how to ‘fix’ people. Positive psychology recognizes those aspects but argues that we can learn more about individuals and groups if we also research and explore the conditions in which people flourish and thrive. How can we benefit from positive aspects such as individual strengths, the concept of flow, love, and my personal favorite, gratitude?

Last Thanksgiving I wrote about how every time I take the VIA Character Strengths inventory my top character strength remains the same: gratitude. While my other top four usually rotate around (but typically include Ability to Love and be Loved, Appreciation for Beauty, Zest and Curiosity) the character strength of gratitude has consistently remained at the top. We all know that we should be grateful often, but the research supports this idea as well! Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson (2005) found that participants who kept a daily gratitude journal for one week experienced a major increase in their happiness and quality of life scores. In fact, this bump in happiness was sustained even after the experiment was over. Other ‘side effects’ of gratitude? Higher levels of optimism, more energy, better quality of sleep, progression towards personal goals, and more positive attitudes (check out all the research that links gratitude to well-being)! You can tap into these benefits by practicing gratitude! Here are my four favorite ways to practice gratitude:

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Get yourself a cute little notebook and write down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for at the end of each day. They can be small things (I’m grateful that there was no line at the grocery store when I was in a hurry), or bigger things (I’m grateful that my family is in good health). In December I wrote down three things that I was grateful for a week and compiled them into the following list:

2. Make a list of what you are grateful for. While a gratitude journal allows you to reflect on what you’re thankful each day, making a master gratitude list let’s you think about everything going on in your life. Items on my list include my health, love, education, holding hands, sushi, sunshine, my family, and vegetarian options on menus. You can see my full gratitude list here.

3. Create a wakeup wall. There is no research supporting this idea (that I know of) but I love it. I like to put pictures of loved one, inspiring quotes, and other things that I’m grateful for in a frame on the wall that faces my bed when I wake up. That means that the first thing that I see when I wake up in the morning (besides my fiancé) is a reminder of all the things I love and am thankful for in life!

4. Express your gratitude. Surprise a loved one and write them a letter of gratitude. Or invite them out to coffee, buy them a cup and express your gratitude then! I personally prefer writing letters (so I can perfect my thoughts) but either way, expressing your gratitude to another person makes both of you feel great!

A big thank you to Melyssa for letting me take over her blog today! I hope that you all find your way over to my blog where I love to pretend that I am a world traveler, hike and camp, obsess over hedgehogs, and make a mess in the kitchen. Latest adventure? Moving to South Africa for 6 months with my fiancé! Come stop by and say hello!


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  • Eloise August

    What a wonderful post! I went through a bit of a depression last year (health issues and unemployment combo) and have found that I am a much happier person now that I make a point to appreciate all the little things in my life that are going right. I used to take so much for granted and am making a huge effort now to celebrate all the wonderful little bits of my life. You’re right, blogging is a great outlet for it. On my old blog, I actually dedicated an entire post once a week to a small thing in my life that brought me happiness. It actually helped me a lot! I love the idea of a “wake up wall.” I may need to create one for myself!

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      I’m so happy that you’ve been making a point of appreciating things in you life, Eloise, and that it has been making a difference!

  • http://daisybisley.blogspot.co.uk/ Claire @DaisyBisley

    I love these ideas, such a great post. Thank you for sharing it with us. I haven’t tried a gratitude journal, but a few weeks ago I wrote one positive thing from each day of the week and reflected back on it the following Monday. It was great and was such a positive way to start the week.

    Love this post! :D

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      what a fabulous way to start the week, Claire! Isn’t it amazing how such a small activity can have such a big impact?

  • http://www.drink-on-it.com/ Stephanie

    I love this! I am working on my gratitude and happiness right now. I just did a post last week when I was feeling particularly low and listed a bunch of things that made me happy at that moment. It really does help to stop and think about the good things. The things you are grateful for. The things that make you happy. It definitely made my day easier.

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      fantastic, Stephanie! I’ll have to go check out your post from before.

  • http://www.chimerikal.com/ Erika

    Nicole, I loooooved this!!! Gratitude is SUCH a theme in my life lately and then BAM! Here’s some great info to reinforce it! It really is a perspective-shifter and such a great tool for empowerment and positivity! And I love that you’re studying positive psychology! Love it! I was wondering what your PhD was in!!! :) Thanks for this!

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      I love how we’re on the same page with gratitude. Loved your gratitude 101 post!

      • http://www.chimerikal.com/ Erika

        I’m loving it too, this same page thing! And thank you very much!!! :)

  • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

    I had never thought of a wake-up wall so thanks for sharing because I sure that with the semester I have in front me a little spot of sunshine will be welcome in the morning! Your MA sounds pretty fantastic and I would love to hear all about what you learned because you already have me hooked with just this little post! LOVED IT!

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      If you end up creating a wake-up wall please take a picture and share it with us!!

      • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

        You bet! As soon as I get in my new place it’ll be on my to-do list! :D

  • http://goingreenjourney.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Thank you Nicole (and Melyssa) for this. I have been looking for a way to get back into the swing of life and being happy since my husband left for a yearlong tour in S. Korea last weekend. I think I will pick up this gratitude journaling idea and run with it! If/when I create posts related to it, I’ll be sure to link it back to you! :)

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      you’re welcome, Lauren! I’m so happy that you like the idea of starting a gratitude journal. Evening writing down one or two things everyday makes such a difference (or at least it does for me). I looking forward to hearing about your process!

  • Cole Nemeth

    I love the idea of a wake-up wall! I already like to put up pictures of loved ones, inspiring quotes and images around my home for daily reminders but the idea how having a wall full of them right in front of me when I wake up sounds lovely.
    I already keep gratitude lists in my journal, but I’d really like to start doing #4 more often! When I was younger I used to leave little notes to my loved ones all the time. It’s amazing how great that can make a person feel.
    Thanks for sharing such a great post :)

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      love that you already keep gratitude lists in your journal! Do you find them to be helpful? And please feel free to take the wake-up wall idea. looks like you’re already half way there!

      • Cole Nemeth

        Yes, gratitude journals are super helpful in making my day better! :)

  • http://greenestacey.blogspot.com/ Stacey Greene

    This is wonderful! I am going out to buy a gratitude journal today :D Thank you for sharing! xo

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      glad that you enjoyed it, Stacey! Let me know how the journaling goes!

  • Jenna

    I love this Nicole! I just used the VIA Strengths Scope in an intervention assignment within an organisation. I love it because it’s such a feel good exercise :) Curiosity is also always in my top 5. Love your list – the wake-up wall is basically the best idea ever.

    xxx
    Jenna
    http://jennafinch.blogspot.com

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      I love that you used the VIA in an intervention, Jenna! And that we have overlapping strengths. I bet that most graduate students have curiosity or love of learning in their top 5!

  • Annie Montgomery

    This is a fantastic idea! (especially paired with your previous post about ‘when people hurt you’, because, well..) I think I could make an entire list about the fact that my husband is the coolest and anyone being negative is gladly not a part of our little unity shindig ;) Number 4 is my favorite. Plus, while we’re living abroad, it makes snail mail that much sweeter coming internationally..that part is fun!
    http://www.montgomeryfest.com

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      glad that you liked the ideas, Annie! I’m hoping to send a lot of gratitude letters while I’m living abroad as well. let me know if you decide to send the letters!

  • Reima

    This is wonderful! I’m going to share this post with my family and friends. :) It is important to always have gratitude and be thankful for what you have. :)

    • http://treasuretromp.com/ Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

      yes, please share the love for gratitude, Reima!

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