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Cultivating Gratitude to Increase Life-Satisfaction

Often times we take things for granted. We focus on what we lack and forget about all the things we have.

Our lack of appreciation can come in many forms. We may wish we made more money, were in better physical shape, or were smarter.

These areas where we perceive lack can be consuming and really steal our joy and satisfaction with life.

When things aren’t going well and we’re dissatisfied, we tend to focus on all the things we wish we had or what we wish was different. When things are going well on the other hand, we are satisfied with life and it’s easier to notice things we appreciate.

In this sense, we may be able to experience a positive feedback loop by cultivating gratitude in order to experience greater satisfaction, and by doing so can more easily focus on what we are grateful for and appreciate.

Satisfaction can be explored by examining it from certain life domains, such as relationships, health, finances, or spirituality. We may have varying levels of satisfaction in different domains of life and by recognizing these areas we can gain greater awareness of where we struggle to be grateful.

We can also break apart gratitude into separate domains in order to expand on what we are thankful for and appreciate.

There is an effective exercise for enhancing gratitude called 3 Good Things that can be adapted by applying it to different areas of our life.

The 3 Good Things Exercise is a simple activity where you reflect on your day and write down a few things you appreciate or are grateful for.

This just requires a few minutes in the morning or at the end of the day and can include anything from relationships, interests, or personal traits. Do this every day for one week and see how you feel. Try to keep it fresh and include a new item to your list each time.

Here are a few questions to consider asking to help expand on your gratitude list.

  • Who are three people in your life you are grateful for?
  • What are three things you are grateful for about your physical health?
  • What are three things you are grateful for about where you live and or your home environment?
  • What are three gifts of unique talent and skills you posses?
  • What are three things you appreciate about your work or what you do for a living?
  • What are three gifts of knowledge and experience you have been exposed to?

When we start to focus on what we’re grateful for it can be an eye opening experience. We can learn that even though we aren’t exactly where we want to be in life, we can still be content and thankful for what we have. We can focus on what we are thankful for and not be consumed with areas of life that leave us dissatisfied.

Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

Cultivating Gratitude to Increase Life-Satisfaction

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2011). Cultivating Gratitude to Increase Life-Satisfaction. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Sep 2011
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