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How to be intentionally thankful

Society can be a negative place. To counteract the negativity bringing you down, be intentionally thankful. Here are a few ways to be intentionally thankful.

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Society can be a negative place, especially lately. To counteract the negativity bringing you down, be intentionally thankful.

Since life tends to encourage negativity, this means we have to be deliberate in thanksgiving and gratitude each day. Some ideas include thinking of things we’re thankful for and choosing to focus on those. Here are some more tips for being deliberately thankful every day.

What does it mean to be intentionally thankful?

Intentionally thankful living means attempting to express gratitude and thanksgiving in your life. It’s a choice. It’s about putting the breaks on a negative thought spiral, and choosing gratitude instead.

Maybe it is human nature, but too often it’s easier to complain and grumble than express thankfulness for someone or something in our lives. Maybe it’s just me, but complaining feels far more natural some days, doesn’t it?

When I talk of being intentionally thankful, I refer to taking time in your day to contemplate on the good things in your life right now. Even when life is messy, finding a few things to be thankful about can improve your mood and give you the hope to press onward.

Is being intentionally thankful being fake?

How to be intentionally thankful

Life gets messy sometimes. Things can go wrong. People can be annoying. Circumstances can knock you down.

This is reality.

Being intentionally thankful doesn’t deny bad stuff weighs us down or makes us ignore our emotions. Instead, it helps me deal with it better. I like to think of it as gaining a better, healthier perspective.

Being intentional with gratitude is not the same as toxic positivity, where someone refuse to acknowledge anything bad, and denies anything unpleasant.

Have you ever seen a movie where the hero is climbing out of the pit they’re in, and they lose their grip, falling back down? Then, suddenly, they can grab onto something, or use a grappling hook or some other tool. Suddenly, they aren’t falling anymore.

Their situation is still precarious. Most of us would still die of a heart attack in a similar situation.

But something has stopped them from falling all the way.

I like to think of intentional thankfulness as that grappling hook or ledge that we can grab on to keep from falling all the way.

Spiraling with a negative mindset, where everything seems hopeless, is far too easy for me to do. Taking a moment to remember three things I’m thankful for stops the spiral. I stop falling down into the pit.

3 ways to be intentionally thankful

There are three basic techniques I used to be intentionally thankful. These are:

  1. Make a short list each morning of three things I’m thankful for, no matter how small. Then remind myself of those three good things throughout the day.
  2. Express thankfulness to one or two people per day. Everyone experiencing that spiral of negativity from time to time. Reminding someone else that people are thankful for them can make their whole day.
  3. Make room for those things that put a smile on your face. Maybe turning fifty does this to people, but life is far too short to waste it on duty and things I don’t enjoy.

I surround myself with things I love. For me, this includes music. No matter how cheap I am, I’ll always make room in my budget for Spotify premium. There are a few podcasts I listen to frequently.

I love inspirational quotes, no matter how dorky people think I am. My day is better when I have those stuck all over my work area.

A little intentional thankfulness makes life better.

I recently created a Gratitude Journal paperback book, which you can find on Amazon. Check it out.



I help small business and solopreneurs grow their businesses through strategic design services for web and print, while patiently guiding them around tech hurdles. My mission is to positively impact small businesses and their communities with awesome design for web and print.
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