Expressing Gratitude Throughout The Year


Now that Thanksgiving is over, and everyone has expressed lots of gratitude to their family, friends, co-workers, over Facebook, and through other social media outlets, does this mean we are done with expressing gratitude? It shouldn’t mean that, but often it does. Gratitude is a practice that should be expressed on a daily basis. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can increase your level of happiness. Our brain often has a negativity bias, meaning that when we hear something our brain most often goes to the negative thought instead of the positive thought, and stays there longer versus moving to a positive thought. Through expressing gratitude on a regular basis, your brain will automatically begin to go to the positive versus the negative. It has been shown that you will experience better health, increased energy, better relationships, and a more positive attitude. Additionally, it also a way to help decrease depression and increase your mood. By expressing gratitude, it is not necessarily that you would only thank people as a form of gratitude, it is things as little as being grateful for waking up in the morning, seeing the sun shine, having fresh water to drink, or having good health. Here are some things you can do to express gratitude and have an overall happier outlook on life.

  • Write in a journal and express three things you are grateful for that day
    • Make sure that every day you are writing something different
  • Write an email to someone in your life (personal or work), and express gratitude
  • Do a random act of kindness
    • By doing something for others, even though it might be a small gesture, provides a good feeling for yourself. This is also really easy for kids to as well.
      • Open the door for a stranger
      • Clean a room in the house that you might not normally do
      • Take the dog for a walk without being asked
    • Meditate or engage in mindful activities
      • Even if you are able to take 5 minutes to begin with, that’s a great place to start. If this is something that resonates with you, build on increasing your meditation time slowly
    • Tell someone how much you appreciate them


Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to cost anything except your time and effort. It is the small things in life that people appreciate. You never know how your expressing gratitude might just be the thing that brightens someone’s day. Give it a try, and see how much better you also feel!

If you'd like to explore how you can integrate gratitude in your life, please contact me


Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Westlake Village, California, and has been in practice for 30 years. Norine views the decision to enter therapy as displaying strength and courage. Norine specializes in suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, and life transitions. Norine is also EMDR trained and uses this to work with people with PTSD and severe anxiety. Norine works with youth, adolescents, adults, and families.


5 replies added

  1. Helene December 14, 2016 Reply

    Great post! I always preach (and try to practice) mkndful acts of kindness on a daily basis. Sometimes you only have to look as far as you circle of friends to be inspired and grateful for your lot, no matter the adversities.

    • Norine December 21, 2016 Reply

      Thank you, Helene. I totally agree that you need to practice what you preach. 🙂

  2. Helene December 14, 2016 Reply

    Great post! I always preach (and try to practice) mindful acts of kindness on a daily basis. You only have to look as far as you circle of friends to be inspired and grateful for your lot, no matter the adversities.

  3. Miranda March 2, 2017 Reply

    So true, gratitude and simple gestures go a long way now-a-days. For me, it isn’t about who or what some one does. It’s the fact that someone went out of their way even for something as simple as opening the door. Those things mean more to me than any financial gain ever would…Great Blog btw!!!

    • I totally agree that it’s the personal touch and people that give of their selves, not the things. <3

Leave your comment