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Exploring the Barriers to Gratitude

Exploring the Barriers to Gratitude

In my Calm Masterclass, Gratitude, I talked about several barriers to gratitude. In this article, I’d like to do a quick recap. As you work through this list of obstacles, consider which of them trip you up the most. Like anything, when we gain awareness of our trouble spots, we can create strategies for change.

As you examine your challenges, be honest but also non-judgemental. Whatever shortcomings you have, you are not alone. We all have these challenges, so no judgement.

Negativity bias

Can you see any patterns of negative thoughts or emotions that might block you from tapping into gratitude? Has negativity become a habit for you in a particular way, like complaining, or ruminating on the same regret over and over?

Cultural influences

We’re inundated with messages and images that can condition us to be dissatisfied with our lives, through advertising, entertainment, and social media. What effect do these influences have on you? Do you have any fixations on things that will one day “fix” your life, or any judgements about what’s wrong with your life today?

Lack and wanting

We all desire things in life, but do you have ambitions or aspirations that might be unhealthy or ineffective? Do any of your desires cause you to feel unhappy with your life as it is today? Are you convinced that a future accomplishment will fill a void you see in your life?

Comparison and envy

Do you fall into this pattern? Are there specific people who trigger this tendency, or does it stimulate dissatisfaction with a particular part of your life? Does your use of social media fuel these emotional patterns?


Are there ways you could challenge your expectations? Could this help you find satisfaction in your life as it is today, irrespective of how you once thought it was supposed to unfold?


Are you sometimes so busy and rushed that you aren’t mindful of the everyday blessings of life? Are there particular routines or times of day when you slip into this pattern?

Whatever insights came from this reflection, don’t berate yourself. We seek awareness of these barriers so we can work on them in an effective way. Hold onto this awareness gently, and when you find yourself slipping into an ineffective behavior, challenge yourself using the tools we explored in the Calm Masterclass, Gratitude.

2019 Daily Calm Calendar

2019 Daily Calm Calendar

 How to calm your anger in just 90-seconds

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