Feeling and expressing gratitude

The seven domains of gratitude


The habit of methodically expressing gratitude is one of those few fundamental practices that is a SuperDeal.


Too much to be grateful for

You’re going to learn here several different and more fundamental ways of expressing gratitude than you’ve ever heard of or thought of before.


Undoing hedonic habituation

As a special treat, you’ll learn about how to ameliorate and even reverse the unwanted effects of what psychologists call “hedonic habituation,” where what gave us pleasure in the beginning (like the new house or spouse) is taken for granted as time passes.


Installing the gratitude habit

You will also learn a special “habit installation” technique that ensures that your subconscious mind reminds you to regularly express and feel gratitude.


Six other pots of gold to discover

The way we usually think about gratitude is for things that seem to be personally bestowed upon us, like being healthy, the food we’re able to enjoy, or the friends and family in our life. Although these are important, the magnitude of life’s gifts are a universe larger than these.


Consider these seven different domains to choose from in expressing gratitude.


  1. What the universe (God) provides to me that is non-specific to any given human. Examples:

    1. “So amazing that oxygen exists all around me to make use of with every breath!”

    2. “Oh, my God! Gravity! Every moment I am relying on gravity to keep things stable and usable.”

    3. “The sun came up today! What a miracle! Thank you, thank you.”

  2. What the universe (God) provides to me in material riches that are contributed personally to me. Examples:

    1. My great health and energy. So so nice to enjoy!

    2. My Mac Mini with my 53-inch TV-screen monitor, along with the Internet, is such an integral part of my life. I am so amazingly blessed to be able to make use of this every day!

    3. My full-body-vibration machine that I use while working at my desk (right now!). This lazy man’s exercise keeps me in great shape. You warm my heart and stimulate my body, dear machine.

  3. The unknown (by name) others that contribute to my life. Examples:

    1. The thousands of people that have made possible the creation and delivery to me of the Radio Shack countdown timer that sits on my desk: the philosophers, the scientists, the inventors, the businessmen, the technicians, the miners, the workers, the store clerks, and so on. So grateful to you all!

    2. The untold number of people (and cats) who made it possible for my cat Princess (an American shorthair) who is sitting on my desk and watching me work right now: all those who took care of her ancestors, the breeders, the veterinarians, the scientists who designed and tested her cat food, the transporters, and the cat lady with her helpers who raised her up until I found her and bought her when she was about six-months old, and so on. Thank you, oh thank you all for my Princess!

    3. All those many, many people who designed the ideas and implemented the systems that support the safe, free, and bountiful world that I enjoy: the philosophers, the businessmen, the government employees, the transportation people, the builders, and so on. I love this world you have built for me!

    4. I was about to click the wrong button on my computer, but a message popped up and asked me if I really wanted to do that. I am indebted to the programmer who thought of putting this “safety” feature into the software.

  4. Others that are known by name (but not personally) that have contributed to my life. Examples:

    1. Hey, Isaac Newton!  What a world you have created for me. Without those principles which you discovered where would I be today?! I am inspired and deeply indebted to you.

    2. How are you, Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Dr. Michael Greger?! Your books and ideas on nutrition and immunity make me healthier and healthier each day that passes. Can you feel my gratitude?

    3. Dr. David Burns, I use your cognitive therapy processes each day to tweak the running of my own mental machinery to better give me the thoughts and feelings that I like. With much appreciation!

  5. People who I know (have known) personally and I express gratitude to without them hearing me. Examples:

    1. How did I ever get or deserve my mother?! Who would I be if she hadn’t been my mother? I cannot fathom that. Always, always she is with me. My heart and mind sing together in eternal gratitude that she was my mother.

    2. Destiny do I believe? Maybe. By chance I met the the woman who has been my assistant (Heidi Yang) for over eight years now (May, 2018) in October of 2009. How was I so lucky to meet her, my good friend and amazing work partner!?

    3. Dr. Cheng Luo: I appreciate his support and trust in arranging for me to give my “loving your life” training to a hundred of his mental health counselors.

    4. Nice to visit with you last night (May 3, 2018), Chenxi Xie. Along with the four other former strangers in our group, he made my day!

  6. Expressing gratitude to myself. Examples:

    1. I am so inspired and fascinated by your mind, Dwight. I am in awe of how it works...the new ideas it’s always coming up with. Thank you.

    2. I love how you’ve changed and grown and developed over your lifetime. You are the same person and you are not the same person. Thank you, Dwight.

    3. I cherish your independent thinking. While questioning everything, you’re still able to take action and move ahead in the world. I appreciate the epistemological approaches that you’ve developed and use.

  7. Expressing gratitude to another (which may include God) and I direct to them personally. Examples:

    1. “Heidi, I was impressed that you were able to catch that mistake that I just made.”

    2. “Mama, I am always in awe of the fact that somehow I got you as my mother.”

    3. “John, thank you for being in my life.”

    4. “God, it’s good to know that you’re always there to talk with...thank you for standing by.”


Life provides us with a bonanza of blessings. Don’t miss the chance to bless those blessings.



Undoing hedonic habituation

What is hedonic habituation?


The happiness of money?

You know how you thought that when you were earning a certain amount of money, you would be so happy. And when you did then you were. For a bit. But you got used to it. You started taking it for granted.


The joy of being with your true love?

You know how you thought that when you got that special man or woman in your life, you’d be the luckiest person in the world. And when you did then you were. For a bit. But then you got used to “having” him or her. You started taking them for granted.


The house of your dreams?

You know how you thought that when you got that new house, you would walk through it every day in wonder. And when you did then you were. For a bit.


It’s called hedonic habituation.


The good news is that it can be undone to a large extent just by creating a regular habit to do so with reawakened gratitude.


Untaking for granted my vibration machine

In this moment, as I am writing this to you, I am standing on my full-body vibration machine. I’ve had it for a few years, long enough to get very used to it. But I have not. Every time I turn it on, I take a second to marvel at how enjoyable and easy it is to use and I congratulate myself on indulging in this “lazy man’s exercise.”


Untaking for granted all around me

Yesterday (May 5, 2018) was my weekly food splurge day (off my six-days-a-week unprocessed vegan program). As I sat at my table eating my lunch, facing outward towards all the others enjoying their food and friends and family in the food court, I began to notice/create the following thoughts:


Untaking for granted I'm an emperor

“This combination of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, purchased with the money I receive from a minute or two of my time, is more safe, more delicious, more varied than likely available to the king or emperor of two hundred years ago.”


Untaking for granted living the exotic life

“Even though I’ve lived in China for over 17 years now, as I watch my fellow Chinese food-court patrons, I still feel the exoticism of immersing myself within a culture so unlike the American culture that I grew up in.”

Untaking for granted the zip-zip of money

“So unbelievable that a quick scan of the QR code on my mobile phone transferred the payment for this meal to the food stand!”


Untaking for granted my shoulder bag

“My beautiful shoulder bag (which I’ve had for a few years), nestling against me right now, makes carrying around my valuables quite easy.”


Untaking for granted my ability to read faces

“Even though I’ve been able to do it for several years now, I delight in noticing the nuances of emotions flow across people’s faces who pass nearby (when I was younger I was quite unaware of this).”


Untaking for granted my facility with chopsticks

“How amazing that I can use chopsticks and it feels downright elegant!”


Installing the gratitude habit

If you’re not already in the habit of regularly expressing gratitude for all of life’s blessings, here’s a habit installation technique. The problem is not so much in being able to think/express gratitude once you’ve remembered to do so. Instead, the problem is routinely remembering to create thanks.


One more thing for your mobile phone to do

This is where your mobile phone becomes your memory for a while (until your subconscious mind gets the idea and takes over the job). Of course, you could also use another type of timer. Ensure first that you’ve installed a timer app on your mobile. Then set the timer for one to three hours ahead. When the alarm sounds, take that moment to create gratitude for something new. Then make sure the alarm is set for another time period. Keep in going. Most people find that, within a month or two, the subconscious mind will be able to replace the external alarm. Go here for full instructions


Pay attention to the heads up

For this to work, you still must honor the alarm (or honor the reminder that surfaced from your subconscious). Unless it a big inconvenience, stop and create that gratitude every time the alarm goes off.

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