What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is being thankful for the good things that happen in one’s life.  Developing a habit to express more gratitude can be a transformative way to cultivate positivity and nurture a sense of vitality and wellbeing.  Experiments have been carried out where people were asked to record once a week, for ten weeks, things they were grateful for in their lives.  At ten weeks they were found to feel better about their lives as a whole, to have fewer physical symptoms and to be more optimistic about the future.  In short, their general mood improved. 

Gratitude Journal

A powerful way to cultivate gratitude is to journal three or more good things that have happened to you in the day. If you find it difficult to do this daily, even committing to the practice once a week can have a long lasting positive impact. This simple exercise will help you to feel considerably more content and happier within oneself.  Studies have shown that those people who extend gratitude seem to be able to extract enjoyment from whatever their current circumstances in life may be.

Gratitude Journal Image

An exert from the NurseWell App Gratitude Journal

Smiling Exercise to Compliment an 'Attitude for Gratitude'

When you smile it releases feel good hormones (endorphins) that can enhance your sense of vitality.  Try this quick 5 second Smile Exercise:

  1. Smile as wide as you can, as if grinning ear to ear
  2. Now wriggle your nose, twitching it as if you are a rabbit, allowing your cheek muscles to merge with your smile
  3. Hold this pose for 5 seconds, repeat as much as you can throughout the day.  If you can look in a mirror to do this exercise, it will double the intention behind this happiness exercise

Smiling Man


Gaffney, M. (2011) Flourishing – How to achieve a deeper sense of well-being, meaning and purpose-even when facing adversity.  Penguin Books, United Kingdom.