Gratitude in Action: Easy Practices for Uncertainty

Devin C. Hughes
2 min readDec 14, 2023

Have you noticed that some people can maintain a relatively positive attitude regardless of what’s happening around them right now? They can appreciate the good times but also seem to be able to focus on the positive in the face of so much uncertainty and a string of adverse events, which seem almost daily.

Fortunately, a positive attitude can be cultivated with a bit of practice. Although we are born with specific temperamental tendencies, the brain is a muscle, and you can strengthen your mind’s natural tendency toward optimism if you work at it. And fortunately, working on building your gratitude muscle can be enjoyable. But the benefits you gain would make it worth the effort even if it were a dull, difficult task.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Here’s how:


Your job this month is a simple one. Choose one person in your world who makes you feel genuinely thankful for their part in your life. It can be a spouse, a friend, a family member, or a co-worker. It doesn’t matter who they are. What’s more important are the feelings of gratitude they elicit in you.


Now, please write them a letter. As you write this letter, tell them why you value their relationship and include a few especially noteworthy points — a remarkable ability to listen, the best time you’ve ever shared with them, and character traits you appreciate. Anything that comes to mind and helps build your whole gratitude.


Here comes the more difficult part: You must read them your letter. Be it over the phone, Skype, or any other means, you need to convey it to them personally. Follow up by mailing or hand-delivering it.


As you do this, note the feelings it might bring up — nervousness, happiness, contentment, giddiness, or maybe even a little sadness or distress.

Each of these emotions and responses plays into that overall gratitude you feel, and as you begin to recognize its different components, you’ll notice that these come up in day-to-day life. You will soon start seeing how small they can be and that they are grounds for gratitude.

A positive attitude makes for a happy life. What tips do you share on keeping a positive outlook next year?



Devin C. Hughes

Keynote Speaker | Mindfulness Maven | Happiness Muse | Author | Diversity & Inclusion Advocate |