Strengthen Your Gratitude Muscle

Strengthen Your Gratitude Muscles by Kelley Grimes at Cultivating Peace and Joy

“There are only two ways to live life. One is as though there are no miracles and the other that everything is a miracle.”

~Albert Einstein

Last week in my blog I explored embracing the nurturing power of now as a response to tragedies happening in this country and around the world. This week I offer gratitude practice as a way to nurture yourself through the large and small challenges of life.


Gratitude has been my lifeboat during times of stress and challenge for most of my life, and has become one of my most nurturing practices. I use gratitude practice with my clients, colleagues, friends, family, in workshops, and even during board meetings.


Recently as life has been increasingly stressful supporting my mom who has been grieving the death of her husband and having health challenges of her own, gratitude practice has been a life saver. Gratitude has been allowing both of us to be more resilient through this difficult time and transform anxiety and negativity into positivity and hope.


What I have noticed is that what we focus on influences how our thoughts flow. When we feed ourselves with positive thoughts of gratitude and recognition of the blessings in our lives it short circuits our negative thinking and makes space for more possibilities. Brain research reinforces these finding as well and highlights the importance of gratitude practice. But for gratitude to have a meaningful positive impact it must be practiced regularly.


Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons have it so right when they wrote, “Many persons look at grateful people and say they are lucky or blessed, or just fortunate. But in truth, grateful people simply understand that gratitude is a signature strength. They make a point to train their gratitude muscle every day, just as if it were their heart, their mind, or their body on a treadmill.”


  • What are ways you can strengthen your gratitude muscle?


  • How would stressful situations be different if you understood that gratitude was your signature strength?


  • Where can you include a gratitude practice in your life?


  • What are you grateful for about yourself and about your life?


If you are looking for a new gratitude practice, try one of my favorites, the ABC’s of gratitude. I start by naming something I am grateful for that begins with the letter A, and then go through the alphabet. I have been enjoying this gratitude practice with my mom and find new things to be grateful for each day as a result. My ability to be grateful is definitely a signature strength and fuels my resilience and hopefulness for which I am deeply grateful. I often say I am grateful for gratitude (a good one for the letter G) and I invite you to embrace this nurturing practice as one of the foundations of your self-nurturing practice.


May you strengthen your gratitude muscle each and every day as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out!

Kelley Grimes

Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,

Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker

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Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • I am grateful for everything and everyone in my life–that’s my intention as I write two gratitude lists every morning; they’re the spiritual bookends to my Divine Dialogue Writing System.
    Happy to see that the ABC’s are bringing you joy! xoxo

  • Leila says:

    I am grateful for everyone and everything. I am blessed to have and know the people and the things I know.
    I am most grateful.
    I will try your gratitude technique too, it sounds fun.
    Happy thanksgiving!

  • I can relate to your situation, Kelley. Heartfelt condolences on your family’s bereavement. I went through a similar situation about 14 years ago when we lost my Dad and I returned to India to help my then 60 year old Mom rebuild her life and encourage her to start painting again.

    Prayers for support and a gratitude practice opened portals of Divine Assistance and as my sister noticed in the days following the funeral, every time I spoke about a new challenge in settling the estate or doing something for our mother, the phone would ring and the person on the other side of the phone would be the person who could assist me in getting the task done!

    • I totally agree that prayers for support and gratitude practice open up possibilities for Divine Assistance and a sense that the universe is rising up to support us in miraculous ways. Thank you for your compassion and loving comment!

  • Andrea says:

    There are so many ways to grow in gratitude — journals, written lists, mental pauses, reading about people who have done amazing things, jars of papers with “good stuff” written on them, saying “thank you.” The more we practice the stronger we get. Thanks for sharing.

  • I have had a gratitude practice for some time now and I can truly say it has made a huge difference in the way I experience life.

  • Thanks Kelly for your practical tips on how to strengthen our gratitude muscle! Your post is a strong reminder of the power of gratitude. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  • Heather says:

    Everyday I live in gratitude. It is most powerful when I am in prayer and meditation. Life is a gift that we should be forever thankful for.

  • CK Kochis says:

    I have not heard of the ABC’s of gratitude. Interesting. Fun. And, a person could be very playful with this gratitude list-making. It makes me wonder how many people are grateful for zebras, xylophones, yams, violas and quinoa! In all seriousness though, my condolences to your family. May your family experience peace and wrap the wounded hearts with the love and support of others. Gratitude has helped me get through some of my darkest days and shed light on what is loving in my life. Many blessings to you and yours, Kelley.

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