Creating Gratitude

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, November 17, 2021
By Carlos Escanilla, LMHC

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It consists of a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Simple concept, right? Yet, it is fascinating that when people are asked to identify things they are grateful for and actually write them down, they get stuck.

Sign Gratitude is my Attitude

You see, I’m a believer that some people find comfort in their pathologies. Example: A pessimist doesn’t want to be pessimistic anymore. When asked to write five things they are grateful for in the morning, and again at night, they laugh and scoff, their thinking quickly turning to “OK, I don’t see what that is going to do”. In this case, they don’t lack willingness, they are just more willing to focus on what is familiar to them, i.e., negativity.

What the pessimist misses, is that the repetitive behavior of being grateful does do something. Time and time again, it has been proven that if we write down what we are grateful for every day, within 6 weeks, people’s moods will begin to shift for the better. I wrote in a previous blog post about our seemingly innate nature to be negative. Therefore, we have to make an honest effort to shift our perspective upon waking up in the morning.

Unfortunately, consistency is difficult for many people. They don’t make it through the 6 weeks it takes for this “attitude of gratitude” to rewire their brains. They write in their gratitude journal for 2 weeks and think, “This isn’t working”. It takes time to go deeper into the things that surround our lives. I’ve known people who wrote down “grateful for my spouse, my kids, my home, and my career” every day, for weeks! This will only get you so far.

I thought I’d share a few ways to help people get past the slump of always being grateful for the same five things simply by questioning what you are grateful for.


My spouse – What about your spouse? i.e., Sense of humor, their smile, their dedication to our family.

My home – What do you love most about your home?

My kids – Ok, great! Dig deeper! If you have children, you will find gold here.

If you focus on going deeper, you will find it easy to make it to the 6-week mark, and then you will begin to notice that you have a different attitude towards life. You’ll start to think differently, more positively, often with gratitude at first thought.

If you’ve tried “the gratitude thing” over and over and have gotten stuck, then try this method. You will train your brain to focus more on the details, and all things worth being grateful for. You’ll find there are things you are grateful for you would have never thought of.

So, stay grateful, dig deep for what you’re grateful for and allow yourself to experience joy with what you have.


“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault