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10 Ways to Cultivate a Grateful Heart

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Gratitude grounds me in seeing things with goodness. Like the deeply missed visitor, gratitude shows up right when I need it. It’s finding a surprise dollar in your pocket, discovering something blooming in your neighborhood or unexpectedly funny things on a Monday. Like a patient friend, gratitude waits for you to notice and it’s always there when you are ready.

What’s lovely about gratitude is it’s usually found in ordinary things, seen in extraordinary ways. When I think about gratitude, it encourages me to create more of it. Here are ten simple ways to cultivate gratitude with your home and family:

1. Grateful Brainstorm — Over dinner or while driving in the car, take turns with your family naming as many things as you can which you are grateful for.

2. Grateful Notes — Choose people in your family, neighborhood, or friend group needing encouragement. Take a couple of minutes to write them a personal note to share what things you appreciate most.

3. Grateful Service — Do something for someone else in your midst. Make an extra batch of cookies to deliver to a widow or lonely neighbor, share the bounty from your farmer’s market visit. Ask your loved ones something you can take off their plate or how you could make their life a bit easier.

4. Grateful Secret — Think of one person in your circle who you could do something in secret to care for them. Roll your neighbor's trash cans back after trash day, leave a small bouquet of flowers from your yard for a friend or share a small token of gratitude with a busy mom who needs encouragement.

5. Grateful Intentions — Find a way to express gratitude with people who cross your path today. Thank the grocery clerk for their careful grocery bagging or noticing the bank teller’s always positive attitude. Point out with intention everything you see that inspires gratitude.

6. Grateful Presence — Make it a point to be fully present to family and friends’ conversations. Set aside your own personal agenda, questions, or chatter to truly listen well to the person you are with. Share during the conversation what you are most grateful for about them.

7. Grateful Self — Take some time to journal about the things you are grateful for from your own life. List as many things as you can, from frivolous to obvious.

8. Grateful Walk — Take a walk, either alone or with family members, and use it as an opportunity to cover your neighborhood, community, and leaders with gratitude prayers. Consider or share what aspects of your neighborhood you are most grateful for.

9. Grateful Date — Create a special evening for your child or spouse designed around their favorite things. Let them know the special night is to express your gratitude for who they are to you.

10. Grateful Quiet — Take some time to meditate with a heart of gratitude. Light a candle, embrace the chance to be silent. Use the time for prayer and listening. Dedicate the time to expressing gratitude to Christ.

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