Giving Thanks: Easy 5 Finger Gratitude Exercise and Ritual!

Easy Gratitude Exercise Woman Holding up 5 Fingers

With so much going on in the world we need tools to help us thrive, or at least de-stress… So, with Thanksgiving around the corner, we’re highlighting this easy gratitude exercise for you. And it’s fabulous for kids – and even younger children.

Because what we are grateful for teaches us what is most important. And in times where we have lost vital freedoms – and the safety in daily life we’ve come to rely on – gratitude helps us heal through appreciating what we usually take for granted. What we are thankful for, shows us what is truly important.

Gratitude and Fierce Kindness…

This exercise is one of our key Fierce Kindness rituals – and helps us create a life we love. There are two supporting ways to create a life you love: 1) Taking action to create the life you want and 2) Seeing the life you already have in a more appreciative light. Gratitude is all about the latter.

Here is the 5 Finger
Gratitude Exercise
  • Simply use the fingers of one hand to count off 5 Things You Can be Grateful for Right Now

And that’s it.

An option to go deeper: As you identify each gratitude item, take a few moments – maybe 3 deep breaths – to really FEEL the gratitude in your body. This will have a calming and uplifting effect on your body’s physiology – shifting your state to one of increased calm and groundedness.

Why not make it a Family Ritual?

  • Gratitude is a great habit for everyone to carry through life. And you could take it in turns to go around the table and do this exercise in between Thanksgiving Dinner courses.
  • Or you could do it daily over dinner and make it a family ritual to notice the small things and focus on the “good” – which is especially helpful during the strange world of COVID.
  • Then once you’ve all shared your “5 Things” you could go deeper and sit for 3 breaths, FEELING the gratitude before proceeding.

But don’t “abuse” Gratitude!

Gratitude is an important practice – but we mustn’t force it. It can be a great way to take the helicopter view and shift our energy to a more positive state, but let’s not abuse gratitude by using it to override what we feel.

When we’re feeling sad, overwhelmed, frustrated or upset – what we feel is our “truth” in that moment.

And we really want to avoid teaching our children to stuff down their “negative” emotions and just be grateful!

Instead, we can make gratitude a healthy habit or ritual – a positive way of looking at our life and world.

So, what should we do when we feel down or upset?

Well. It’s important to be:

  1. (A)ware of what we really feel
  2. (A)cknowledge it, and then
  3. (A)llow it – before we do any work (like gratitude) to feel “better”.

For more on this see The 3 As Process here.

What we’re aiming at is that – especially when life is challenging – we can look at what we might normally take for granted, and choose to be grateful for these small things.

Gratitude is also a resilience tool

As well as helping us love the life we have, gratitude – or thankfulness – is also a powerful resilience tool. It helps us notice and focus on the “positive” things in our lives.

Because when times are challenging, it’s easy to get caught up in those challenges. But if we think small enough, we can always find things to be grateful for: even if it’s the rainbow you saw this morning, your favourite take-out or a hug from a loved one.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie


I hope you enjoyed this super easy gratitude exercise. This short, powerful ritual is the ultimate way to create a life you love – by loving the life you already have.

And you really can do it anywhere, any time.

I’ll leave you with a couple of questions to ponder:

  • When could you add this easy gratitude exercise to your daily routine?
  • What other times can you think of when you could use this gratitude exercise?

If you liked this easy gratitude exercise, you may also like:

Remember: Change the world, start with you!

Image of Smiling Person holding out 5 Fingers for Gratitude Exercise by Jihan Nafiaa Zahri via Shutterstock

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