Gratitude for Skeptics

by Nov 24, 2022Success

If you know me, you know I’ve spent the majority of my career as an emergency vet. I’m not known for being a touchy-feely person. So when several colleagues started harping on the benefits of a gratitude practice, I was skeptical.

My first inclination was to say “not for me,” and move on. But I kept coming across real data showing the benefits of gratitude.

In her book Atlas of the Heart, Brené Brown describes gratitude as “an emotion that reflects our deep appreciation for what we value, what brings meaning to our lives, and what makes us feel connected to ourselves and others.” She cites research showing that gratitude is correlated with better sleep, improved decision-making skills, enhanced creativity, and even decreased blood pressure.

Gratitude can be a daily practice, a habit, or part of your morning (or evening) routine. You can use a notebook, planner, journal, or gratitude app.

The concept is to take a few minutes, or even less than a minute, every day to reflect on the good things in your life.


One study showed that simply taking time to write down what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness by over 10%.

But could such a simple action really have that kind of power?

I decided to try an experiment. For 90 days, I wrote down 3 things I am grateful for.

I used an app called Delightful, which prompted me every day by asking “What are 3 good things today?” Every morning (or evening), I wrote a short list of 3 people or things I was grateful for.

My most common answers were about people, conversations, my surroundings, or a successful part of the work day. I celebrated what was good about the day before, or what I was looking forward to.

I found that practicing gratitude boosted my mood on ho-hum days. I found myself spiraling into cycles of worry less often. I took a break from problem-solving to consider what went well each day.

I encourage you to test this concept in your own life, even if you’re skeptical like I was.

By celebrating what is good in our lives, we shift our focus toward what makes our lives meaningful.


Meredith Jones, DVM


Gratitude Starter List
Here are some basic things you could be grateful for:
Suggestions for Starting a Gratitude Habit
  • Your health
  • Your education
  • Your family
  • Your pets
  • Your freedom
  • Your talents
  • Your colleagues
  • A roof over your head
  • Food on your plate
  • Technology that makes your life easier
  • Start easy. On tough days, it’s perfectly fine to write basic responses. Get into the habit, and you will have more to write later on. 
  • Choose a format you can stick with. If you need a daily reminder, set one on your phone or use an app. 
  • Keep it interesting. Challenge yourself to never write the same thing 2 days in a row.