in Mind Tools

A routine for happiness

Happiness routine: experience gratitude

In this article you are going to learn a very simple routine you can apply every day to increase your overall happiness: the gratitude routine.

It is as simple as it is powerful and effective in engineering a long-term change in your mindset.

The gratitude routine

Gratitude Routine

A few years ago I remember being somewhat a more negative person. Not that I expressed it while being with others, being gloomy and all but my “default” mode, my energy was a bit heavier.

Some would say I was “serious”, most would say that my default mode was unwelcoming. Unlikely to make me easy to approach or be perceived as a positive person.

Fast forward to now, I switched to a completely different energy, a different “default mode” and I attribute this switch to a very simple ritual I do every morning: the gratitude routine.

It is extremely simple: every morning, I just write down 3 things I’m grateful for.

Now, here is the subprocesses that makes this very powerful:

  • for each point I write, I’m really experiencing gratitude for. I really feel grateful for each point that gets written during this routine
  • I focus on different elements but try to experience gratitude mostly for things under my control: I can feel grateful for the weather, but I’ll make sure to be grateful about how I shape my day or how I got to walk or bike to work in the morning, etc.
  • I do this every weekday morning to kickstart the day. I don’t even think about it, it’s part of my morning routine and gets done every day to create a lasting change

The importance of gratitude

When you are feeling grateful, it is much harder — some would say impossible — to experience other negative feelings like resentment, etc.

You create a virtuous circle by clearing out negative emotions and having this moment.

You also take the time to consciously focus on things you are happy with. It’s too easy to get caught up in our thought and focus on the negative aspects of our lives.

In fact, we are evolutionarily programmed to focus on the negative more than the positive, it’s called the negative bias.

The gratitude routine helps hedging this and consciously reversing the process every morning.

Start now

Because it is very easy to apply, you should start right now: write down 3 things you are grateful for at this moment on a piece of paper or a note document — I use Evernote for this kind of routine.

Then put a reminder so you don’t forget to do this every morning.

Give it a week, a month if you can and you’ll start feeling the benefits of it all.


This routine is extremely simple yet extremely effective, which makes it a very interesting mind tool to condition yourself to be happier and less stressed throughout your days.

Let me know how it works for you and if you’d like to get more techniques like this on The Unchained Mind.