Recognizing the 3 Types of Gratitude to Increase Your Gratefulness

recognizing the 3 types of gratitude in life woman in nature with uplifted hands

In our journey to show more appreciation, it’s important to recognize the 3 different types of gratitude. You may be feeling more grateful than you think!

As you go through your day, try to recognize these 3 types of gratitude in different situations. Pause to reflect for a few seconds, and let the feeling of gratefulness linger so you don’t miss it in the rush of life.

Momentary Gratitude

momentary gratitude for coworker doing coffee run at the office

Momentary gratitude is that knee-jerk reaction of gratefulness when someone does something nice for us. It can be so fleeting that we miss it.

When someone at work does a coffee run, or when our spouse makes us a cup of coffee while they’re making one for themselves can be taken for granted. But we may have fleeting feelings of gratitude that we don’t even recognize.

grateful for spouse making cup of coffee

If you’re like me, you may even respond with “Thanks!” without thinking about it. It’s an automatic response that steals our opportunity to feel the gratitude.

A part of our quest to be more thankful can be as simple as taking a few extra seconds to enjoy gratitude when it’s there.

Benefit Triggered Gratitude

benefit triggered gratitude like husband surprising wife with flowers

Benefit triggered gratitude is our response to someone’s act of kindness. It can be a small act or something that gets us out of a bind. We tend to feel more gratefulness the bigger the benefit.

As we focus on growing gratitude, we learn to express appreciation for kindnesses big & small in a mindful and wholehearted way.

We also want to recall that act of kindness over and over again so we recognize that we have many things to be thankful for in our lives. This is why journaling – and re-reading our journals – is important. It’s counting our blessings.

Global Gratitude

woman hiking walking top of mountain appreciating landscape with arms out

Global gratitude is a generalized feeling of appreciation for life & the beauty of the world, and being thankful what we have. This is usually the type of gratitude we think of as our goal when we concentrate on increasing thankfulness in our lives. We want to carry the serenity of gratitude with us wherever we go.

The first two types of gratitude are easier. They come naturally and all we need to do is focus on seizing the moment of gratefulness when it’s there. But having a general sense of gratitude for life takes practice.

Here are 12 suggestions to help cultivate a deeper attitude of gratitude:

1) Daily Gratitude Journaling

Make it a habit of writing down three to five things you’re grateful for every day. Over time you’ll be quick to notice the small blessings and beauty in your life that you might have overlooked before.

2) Practice Mindfulness

We rarely live in the moment. We tend to think about what’s coming next, or analyzing what just happened. Feeling a general sense of gratitude requires living in the now, appreciating our present surroundings and see the beauty in our life today. The awareness of our current blessings brings the serenity of gratitude.

3) Create Gratitude Reminders

Place post-it notes, Alexa reminders, or gratitude affirmation art in your living and work spaces. These prompts can be as simple as statements like “What are you grateful for right now?” or your favorite affirmations.

4) Practice Acts of Kindness

Doing random acts of kindness increases your own feelings of gratitude. When you bring a smile & a little bit of happiness to someone’s day, you feel a deeper sense of appreciation for your own life.

5) Limit Your Exposure to Negativity

Continuously consuming negative news or the craziness on social media makes it more difficult to see the positive and grow grateful. Did you know that listening to complaining for 30 minutes a day can shrink your brain? Read the facts. (That includes listening to your own criticisms.)

6) Express Your Appreciation

Regularly tell people in your life that you appreciate them. Send snail mail cards & letters that they can keep and look at to increase their gratitude too. This expression of appreciation reinforces your internal radar for gratitude.

7) Journal with Gratitude Prompts

Use a journal with gratitude prompts – statements or questions that spark thoughts of thankfulness. They can make you see things that you haven’t before, or think of something in a different way that stirs up gratitude.

8) Take Nature Walks

Spending time outdoors in a mindful way brings awe, wonder, and gratitude. Regularly taking walks at the waterfront, in the forest, or at local parks and gardens helps you feel more connected to – and appreciative of – the world around you.

9) Reflect on Your Successes

Remembering past difficulties and realizing how much you’ve grown, or what you’ve learned from them, can foster a sense of gratitude for your personal journey and where you are today.

10) Create Gratitude Rituals

What daily gratitude rituals are meaningful to you? Some people say grace or take turns saying what they’re thankful for before meals. Many take a moment to reflect on gratitude in their morning routine to start the day off right. Others prefer to include a gratitude ritual in their evening routine for better sleep.

11) Take Time for Inspirational Stories

Learning about challenges and triumphs other people experience can offer perspective and elicit feelings of gratitude for your own blessings. This includes fiction too. Reading inspirational novels & watching uplifting movies is a fun way to practice feeling grateful for our own lives and circumstances. Take a moment of reflection while you read (a reading journal is great for that) or after the movie to focus on gratitude.

12) Connect with a Grateful Person

Spend time with someone who embodies gratitude. Their perspective can be contagious and inspire you to see things in a new light.

man with arms out stretched grateful for sunshine and birds in sky with generalized gratitude

Regular practice and genuine intention are key. Like any other habit or mindset, gratitude takes time but the benefits for mental, physical and emotional wellbeing are profound.

Putting all 3 types of gratitude in practice reinforces your ability to be thankful & express appreciation. Focus on the easy momentary and benefit triggered gratitude immediately to boost your confidence as you work on generalized gratitude.

3 types of gratitude table

Soon you’ll discover a serenity that brings strength to your soul through gratefulness.

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