Improve Your Mood With An Attitude of Gratitude

Improve Your Mood With An Attitude Of Gratitude


Are there times when you’re feeling down in the dumps or bummed out about something? Well, if you said yes, you’re right in there with most of the population. There are people who feel sad on occasion, and there are also people who walk around feeling depressed a lot, or most of the time. When you start to feel sad there are times when it may be harder than other times to pull yourself out of that state. That's where an attitude of gratitude comes in!







Research shows that by expressing gratitude, and embracing gratitude every day, you can help improve your mood! There was an article written on several research studies about gratitude and how it can improve your well-being. You can check it out here.

Many of the clients I work with experience depression, and one thing I’m always talking about is gratitude! I also use this with families who are struggling with their relationships and communication. In these instances, there is usually someone who is feeling down or disconnected from their family. By having them do gratitude exercises, they often times report an increase in their mood, along with relationships.


That’s another thing I want to talk about, is how relationships are effected when you’re depressed. When you’re depressed it’s hard to engage with other people, nevertheless have a meaningful conversation in which you are equal participants. A lot of people don’t want to join in family meals, activities, etc. People find it hard to socialize with others when they are depressed and will often isolate by being alone in their room, or staying away from the house more than they normally would.


So, let’s talk about some things that you can do, by yourself and with family members, to help improve your mood.


  • Gratitude Journal One thing I always like to have people do is keep a gratitude journal. There are all different kinds that you can find on Amazon or at a store like Barnes & Noble. Some of them have blank pages and some have prompts for you to follow. The ones I often recommend for families are blank. I ask each family member to write down three things they are grateful for each day. If it’s an individual, I have them do this before bed so they can find a few things they were grateful for that day. For individuals, I like to recommend one with prompts like this one.
  • Notes to Self There is also an app I like. It’s both on Apple and Android phones. It’s called Notes to Self. When you open it, an inspirational quote pops up on your screen. Then it gives you three categories to write something in. The first is 3 things you’re grateful for. Second is to reflect on something good. And lastly, is a random act of kindness (which I’ll talk about in a bit). It also allows you to pick a time to be reminded to enter your daily items. My reminder goes off at 6pm, which up until recently has been when I’m home. As my schedule has recently changed I’ll probably set it for before bedtime in order to record things more regularly.
  • Family Dinner For families, I also might have them go around the table and talk about one thing they are grateful for that day. No one can repeat what another has said, and they need to talk about why they are grateful for what they have mentioned. Verbalizing gratitude leads to people realizing there are positive moments in their day when they might have thought there were none.
  • Random Acts of Kindness Here is where I’ll mention random acts of kindness. I have mentioned this in several of my posts because I truly believe in this. By doing something for someone else, it leads to you feeling good at the same time. Christine Carter of Greater Good at UC Berkeley wrote an article on this topic. She states “We feel good when we give because we get what researchers call a “helpers high,” or a distinct physical sensation associated with helping.” You can read the entire article here



Here are a few other random acts of kindness you can easily do:


  • Give someone a genuine compliment
  • Make a cup of coffee or tea for someone in your office
  • Do a load of laundry without being asked by your spouse or parent
  • Donate an item or two to a local food bank
  • Hold the door open for someone when you’re entering a place at the same time
  • Call someone “just because” who you haven’t spoken to for a while
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Write an email to someone and express your gratitude towards them


The great thing about all of these activities is that they are low cost or no cost. Doing a random act of kindness doesn’t have to cost a lot, or anything in fact.


If you’re interested in learning more about how you can incorporate gratitude into your daily life, or you want to help improving your mood, please feel free to contact me.

*I am in no way affiliated with any of the links provided. I just happen to use their products and think they're helpful.

Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW









Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Westlake Village, California, and has been in practice for 30 years. Every person is unique in what fits best for them, and we will work together to see what is right for you. Norine specializes in suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, mindfulness, and trauma. Norine is also EMDR trained and uses this to work with people experiencing a variety of issues. Norine works with youth, adolescents, adults, and families.



18 replies added

  1. Chelle March 3, 2017 Reply

    These are so great, Norine! I’m going to check out that app! Great post!

    • Thanks, Chelle! I love the Notes To Self App. The best part is the reminder you get every day! 🙂

  2. Tracie March 4, 2017 Reply

    I keep a gratitude journal and my planner has a place in it for daily gratitude. I have always believed in being grateful

  3. Playingwithfate March 4, 2017 Reply

    This was a great read! As a stay at home mom with a husband on night schedule it’s easy to feel disconnected. My favorite thing to do is get my kids out and do something for someone else. It always lifts my spirits! Great ideas I’ll try! Thank you!

    • How wonderful, Marissa! I definitely believe that it’s so important to get your kids doing things like that when they’re young! 🙂

  4. Bailey March 4, 2017 Reply

    Gratitude is the key! I love the journal idea.

  5. Alvin Lau March 4, 2017 Reply

    I agree with this post! Sometimes when I feel down, helping others actually brings joy to me.

    • Hi Alvin! I’m glad that this blog was helpful for you, and I do agree that helping others, helps ourselves 🙂

  6. La Costa Gaston March 6, 2017 Reply

    Gratitude is everything. It makes you feel better when you are able to help someone with something so simple as a hello and/or a smile. Great article!

  7. Olubukonla March 11, 2017 Reply

    Note to self is something I’m definitely going to try. Lovely peiece..

  8. Melody Owen March 16, 2017 Reply

    Really interesting article. I like the idea of family dinners. I truly think that many people in North America need more connection. We have a lot of things but not enough deep and fulfilling relationships. No amount of stuff can fill that void.

    • Thank you, Melody! I totally agree. Society places way too much importance on “stuff”, and yes, I believe nothing can take the place of our relationships.

Leave your comment