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The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” – Woody Allen

We all imagine what a successful and happy life should look like. One of the problems this can create is that we can end up focussing on the things we don’t have and it can leave us thinking “I will be happy when…”

But what about what we do already have? It is very easy to take the things in life we have for granted especially those things that are familiar. Yet taking time to be thankful for what we have, and thanking people for what they have done for us, can make us feel much happier. Taking time to express gratitude towards friends, family, teachers, neighbours, complete strangers or God help us to acknowledge and appreciate that much of what we have is due to what something or someone has done for us.

Thankfulness increases our life satisfaction, which in turn can decrease the level of negative feelings we may have about our lives.


Like anything new, practising thankfulness can take time to master and get used to. Research has shown that one of the best ways to develop thankfulness is to write down three things at the end of each day we are thankful for. This is one of the most effective ideas you could try and it’s easy to do too.

  1. Take time to do your own personal A–Z of thankfulness. Identify at least one thing for each letter of the alphabet for which you are thankful.
  2. Write down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day for a week.
  3. Create a gratitude jar and fill it up over time with things you are grateful for. Occasionally open it up and read back through the things you are thankful for.
  4. Find a creative way to express what you are grateful for (write a song, make a vlog, paint or draw a picture, write a poem, photograph things around you).
  5. Write a thank you letter.
  6. Send a thank you message on your phone.
  7. Keep a gratitude journal.
  8. Watch this clip and write down what you think or learnt from it.
  9. Post things you are grateful for on your social media feed each day for a week.
  10. List all the people in your life you are grateful for and stick it up on your wall at home.
  11. Say thank you to members of your family.
  12. Write a prayer of thanks.
  13. Create your own gratitude dance/song and when good things happen do the dance/sing the song (why not record yourself doing this and post on social media).
  14. Thank someone who has helped you or supports you.
  15. Practise saying thank you more often.
  16. Make an effort to stop complaining for the week.
  17. Offer to cook a thank you meal for your family or someone special.