The Character Strength of Gratitude is an awareness of and thankfulness for the good things in one’s life. Grateful individuals take time to express thanks and contemplate all that they have been given in life. Gratitude can be directed at a specific person, at a Divinity, or simply expressed outwardly for the mere fact of existence. This strength is a mindset of appreciation and goodwill for the benefits derived from other people.

How to demonstrate this Character Strength:

Movies: Sunshine (2000), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Songs: Strength, Courage, Wisdom, Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder)

Below are suggested strategies that correlate with this strength. You may choose to do one or two of them, or you may choose to use them all. Important thing to remember is that if you enjoy doing them, then do them. If you don’t, well to put it quite simply, then don’t! Only use what is relevant to you and what you enjoy:

  1. Consider how this statement describes your usual mental state: “A still mind sees what is good and present. An anxious mind sees what is negative and missing.” Still your mind for 5 minutes in the morning and in the evening.
  2. Count three good things that have happened to you before going to bed every night.
  3. Express your gratitude to someone who you haven’t told before
  4. Every day, select one small yet important thing that you take for granted. Work on being mindful of this thing in the future.
  5. Notice how many times you say thanks and whether you mean it every time.
  6. Express gratitude by leaving a note for someone who has helped your intellectual growth (i.e. a teacher, parent, mentor)
  7. Express thanks to all who contributed to your success, no matter how small their contribution might have been
  8. Express thanks without just saying “thanks” – be more descriptive and specific (i.e. I appreciate your expert advice because…)
  9. Write 3 apprehensions that you feel when you wake every morning. Before you go to bed, write 3 good things that happened to you and why. Then evaluate your apprehensions in light of the good things.
  10. Set aside at least 10 minutes each day to savor a pleasant experience. Decide to withhold any conscious decisions during these 10 minutes.
  11. Write a letter to an editor about an event that brought your community closer.
  12. Express gratitude to public officials such as police officers, fire fighters, health care workers and postal workers.
  13. Before eating, think of all who have contributed to what you are eating. Do this at least once a week
  14. Over dinner, talk with your loved ones about two good things that happened to them during the day.
  15. Think of three past adversities and identify three serendipitous goods they led to.
  16. Reminisce about your best moments of recognition, achievement, praise and connection
  17. Get a jam jar, a note pad and a pen. Every morning take 2 minutes before you get out of bed write down one word of something or someone you are grateful for. Do this every morning for one month. Empty the jar at the end of the month and take 15 minutes to read all of the notes out loud to yourself. Continue with this if you enjoy it.

Remember, when you are doing something in life that uses your strengths, it will strengthen you. When you are doing something in life that requires you to use your lower strengths, or weaknesses, it will weaken you. You can use your strengths to accommodate for your weaknesses.

By monitoring the above, you will be able to catch when there is an incongruence in this personal strength. An incongruence will compromise you and cause inner conflict, so the above will help you keep on the right track.

Yours in wellness,

Elaine x

Elaine Corcoran

Clinical Director I Brain Training Australia I Perth WA


Niemiec, R. M, 2017, Character Strengths Interventions, Hogrefe, Boston

Tayyab, R., Anjum, A., 2005, 340 Ways to Use VIA Character Strengths, University of Pennsylvania