Gratitude is about more than just feeling thankful. It affects our physical and mental health, activating regions of the brain associated with pleasure, reward and stress relief. When we express gratitude, we share these benefits with others – and our small acts of gratitude can add up to something big.

According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude actually changes the molecular structure of the brain. And the more we do this, the more benefits we see. Neuroplasticity – our brain’s ability to constantly create new neural pathways – gives us the power to train our brains to seek out moments of gratitude.

That’s good news if you tend to have a ‘glass-half-empty’ mentality or if expressing gratitude doesn’t come naturally to you. We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can take small steps that help us face whatever comes our way with less stress and more resilience.

When we’re stressed and always ‘on’, it’s easy to charge through our days without taking a moment for gratitude. But with Microsteps – small, science-backed actions you can take immediately – you can begin to tap into gratitude in small but powerful ways. You can also create a gratitude routine. Find a time of day to build in a moment of gratitude and before long you’ll have created a new habit.

Here’s five Microsteps you can try today:

Don’t start the day by looking at your phone as soon as you wake up.

Take at least one minute to focus on your intention for the day or remember what you’re grateful for.


Find a quote that helps you express gratitude.

Keeping that quote front of mind – or placing it where you can see it – will help you feel grateful and experience the associated benefits.


Write down three things you’re grateful for before bed.

This has been shown to lower stress levels and create a greater sense of calm. Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions, helping to protect us from cynicism, entitlement, anger and resignation. When you put your problems in perspective and remember that you’ve made it through challenges before, you’ll feel more resilient so you can persevere through whatever you’re facing now.


Every time you brush your teeth, think of three things you’re grateful for.

Stacking a new habit on top of an existing one is a great way to add gratitude to your day with no extra time.


Put away your phone and look up while commuting or running errands.

Unplugging while on the move will help you connect with people, sights and scenes around you – and take stock of what you’re grateful for.

Thrive Global Asia Pacific

An alliance between Thrive Global and Monash University with the mission to end the stress and burnout epidemic. The partnership brings an evidence based approach to well-being and performance and will work with organisations to deliver programs that lift the performance, resilience, engagement and mental health of employees.

Unlock your people’s potential today

Enter your details to stay up to date with the latest news events and program updates.

Any personal information you provide via this website will be collected by Monash University and Thrive Global for the purposes of delivering the Thrive program to you and to send you marketing communications, if you choose to receive them.

To see how Monash handles your personal information please refer to our Data Protection and Privacy Procedure and Visitors and Enquirers Data Protection and Privacy Collection Statement or contact dataprotectionofficer@monash.edu
To see how Thrive Global handles your personal information please see thriveglobal.com/privacy/.

*Required Fields

Any personal information you provide via this website will be collected by Monash University and Thrive Global for the purposes of delivering the Thrive program to you and to send you marketing communications, if you choose to receive them.

To see how Monash handles your personal information please refer to our Data Protection and Privacy Procedure and Visitors and Enquirers Data Protection and Privacy Collection Statement or contact dataprotectionofficer@monash.edu
To see how Thrive Global handles your personal information please see thriveglobal.com/privacy/.