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How having an “attitude of gratitude” will drastically improve your life.

Do you consider yourself a grateful person? Think of a few people in your life that seem to be really happy and at peace with themselves and their lives. Most of the time, these people don’t necessarily have an easier life by any means, but rather they are simply grateful people. In today’s episode, Foster and I are going to talk about having an attitude of gratitude and how life-changing it is.


  1. Before you going to bed or when you wake up in the morning, write down three simple things that you are grateful for.
  2. Try to be delighted once a day. – Look for things, people, or situations that you normally don’t notice and observe their beauty, imperfections, resilience, etc.



Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Improve Your English, Improve Your Life. I am Jackie and I’m here with –


Foster! Hey, Jackie. How are you doing?


I’m doing better. Better than last week. How about you? How are you doing?


I’m also doing better. Better than last week. Today was your idea to talk about gratitude, Jackie. So, feel free to ask me whatever you want. I am no expert.

gratitude = gratidão
– I am filled with gratitude for what you have done for me.


Well, what actually sparked my attention on this is I remember I listened to an episode that you and Alexia did, I believe last year, and I only listened to one episode, so you’ll have to fill me in. But you guys, I believe were doing a gratitude challenge of some sort. So I’m curious what sparked that idea, first of all, for you guys to do a gratitude challenge and to talk about it on your podcast?

to spark = dar uma centelha; aqui é usado de maneira figurada para expressar “chamou minha atenção”, ou “deu uma faísca que acendeu a chama da minha atenção”
– The viral video sparked a lot of attention with the teenagers.


Okay. First, a quick disclaimer. We have recorded more than 1000 episodes, so I might be getting some of the finer details wrong, but I think I have the general picture more or less correct. So if I’m not mistaken, I don’t believe it was, like, a gratitude challenge. But we just did, like, a series about gratitude. And I think first we did a series about burnout, and then that led to a series about gratitude or maybe the other way around.

disclaimer = termo legal para um aviso de isenção de responsabilidade; aviso que algo pode não ser ou ocorrer exatamente como esperado
– There was a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie, saying that it was a work of pure fiction, and any similarities between it and anything in real life were coincidental.

the other way around = expressão idiomática que significa “o contrário”
– Mark didn’t help Cindy, it was the other way around; Cindy helped Mark.


Maybe you got burnt out from… from being so grateful.


No, no. I think we recorded some episodes about burnout, and we got a lot of, like, really positive feedback for kind of being vulnerable. So then we decided to do one about gratitude. I think that’s what happened.


Okay, very cool. And do you remember – was it, like, for 30 days or a certain period of time?


I think we recorded, like, a week or two weeks of podcasts, just about gratitude, different things we’re grateful for, kind of how to cultivate gratitude. Different ways to approach it and why it’s important. And yeah, it was a super interesting and fun little experiment to do.


Yeah. So why don’t you tell us, like, what your… what the experiment was? Did you just wake up in the morning and think of the three things you’re grateful for? Or what did you guys specifically do?


Okay, so historically, I have always had a very difficult relationship with gratitude. So in the last few years, as I’ve become more interested in, like, meditation and awareness and personal development, there’s a lot of talk about gratitude and self-compassion. And that just never resonated with me because for a lot of reasons, just like a lot of negative self-talk, but… So in all of those kind of different areas, when people would talk about gratitude or self-compassion, I was just like, “Okay, I’ll skip that part. I don’t understand what they’re doing; next, please”. So Alexia and I kind of had an open conversation about why that was. And we started with just the benefits of gratitude. And long story short, gratitude and self-compassion are immensely beneficial. Like, they make you a better person in innumerous ways. So it’s something we should definitely all try to cultivate.


Yeah, but I actually… I can relate to you, Foster, because I feel like as much as I like to think of myself as being a grateful, positive person, I definitely struggle at times as well to not want to, like, change the situation. And there’s no problem, I guess, with wanting to change the situation. But I think, like, for example, if I’m unhappy at my job, I tend to focus a lot on, like, all the reasons why it’s the worst job in the world and, and use that as, like, fuel to… “Now I need something better” or “I need something different”.


The job you created for yourself?


Yes. Well, not this job per se, but… but there are times that we… It’s all about, like, your perspective. And if we look at people – like, if you think of people that just seem to be, like, really happy, like, with their job, with their relationships, just with life in general, it’s not the external situation that they have that makes them happy. It’s just their perception, their perspective of what they have. So I think of, like, my… my grandma, for example, she’s 98 years old.


Oh! My, my grandmother just turned 99, I believe.


Oh, my goodness! Wow. Amazing. But I remember – well, my grandfather, he died maybe six years ago, something like that, about six years ago. But I always kind of looked at their relationship and she just… and she had six kids and, you know, her husband was in the Navy and grew up during a lot of difficult times for sure. Yeah, but she’s just so, like, happy and appreciative and at peace. And I think of other people I know that are like that. And it’s not – they don’t have, like, easy lives or perfect partners or the best jobs in the world at all. They just view everything in a different light. And there’s other people that have everything, you know, that would quote unquote “make you happy”: the perfect body, the perfect wife or husband, the most amazing job, beautiful house, and they… they don’t… they’re not happy because they don’t appreciate it or, I don’t know, maybe they feel, like, guilty about it. Who knows what’s going on in their internal world. But I do think it’s… it’s like that phrase, like, when you just make the change, like, “I get to do this” versus “I’ve got to do this”, that simple shift. It’s, like, “I get to go to work today; like, I’m so lucky”. Like, “Wow, how amazing that I actually have legs and feet and I’m healthy and I’m able to – and I have a job that I have this privilege of going to work” versus like, “Ugh, I’ve got to go to work today. I have to go to this job and it’s going to be terrible and I’m going to have a bad attitude about it”.

the Navy = a Marinha
– Peter decided that he wanted to work in the Navy.

quote unquote = “abre aspas, fecha aspas”; usado em inglês quando queremos dizer algo que não acreditamos ser verdade
– The man said he was, quote unquote, “unhappy”.

I get to do this = não tem uma tradução direta para o português, mas expressa algo como “eu tenho o privilégio de fazer isto”
– When you’re a new parent, you often don’t get to sleep all night.

I’ve got to do this = sem tradução literal para o português, expressa “eu tenho que fazer isto”
– I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’ve got to get out of here!


Yeah, oof! I really like the kind of a shift in perspective of, “Yeah, I get to” rather than “I’ve got to” or “I need to” or something like that. But yeah, to, maybe to back up a bit.


Yes, Yes.


Intellectually, I understood and still understand that all of the people I admire and, like, what I seek most in life, gratitude is, like, a huge piece of getting there.




But I just had no idea, really no notion of what gratitude was. So there were a few things that kind of shifted my approach and opened the door for me to become more grateful.


Okay, so I’m, I’m excited to hear about these things. So what happened?


Okay, so perhaps not surprisingly, a lot of it just has to do with language. So I started with… I don’t remember where it came from, but I replaced gratitude with appreciation.

appreciation = lit. “apreciação”, aqui tem o sentido de “reconhecer o valor de algo ou alguém” ou “reconhecer os benefícios que algo ou alguém traz”
– In a relationship, appreciation of your partner is very important.




Because… I don’t know. I believe it’s… it’s my mentor who… he always says, like, “I really appreciate that”, or like, “I really appreciate a glass of nice wine” or something, but he’s, like, someone that appreciates, like, culture and value, and you can just see how much it really, like, fulfills him.


Yeah, I love that. Like, just appreciating the simple things that you may not give much value to. That makes a big difference.


It’s a lot easier to appreciate like, oh, a nice gesture or I don’t know, the person that gave you coffee, or gave you a nice smile. In the beginning it was difficult for me to say, like, “I feel grateful for that”. But it was easy to say like, “Oh, that was nice. I appreciate – I appreciate it”.




So that was one shift. Another one was… I don’t know if you’ve read this book. If you haven’t – I think I’ve already recommended a lot of books on this podcast, but this is the one that I would encourage you to read – actually, to listen to more than any others. It’s called The Book of Delights by a poet, an American poet named Ross Gay. And his idea was to write one essay, one handwritten essay every day for a year about something that delighted him that day, and very similar to appreciation.

handwritten = escrito à mão
– The hotel staff left us a lovely handwritten note about how they appreciated us as guests. It was very nice!




I started seeing things that were, like, “Yeah, that was a delightful, like, autumn leaf”, or something like that.

leaf = folha (plural: leaves)
– Look at this interesting leaf! I think it’s from a maple tree.


Yeah, yeah. Oh, but I love that, though, because it just, it basically… you change your focus and you start looking for things that you appreciate or you delight in versus just, you know, in your head, kind of going through the day thinking about stuff. It kind of forces you to be more present, to look around and, and just look for good things happening all around you, beauty all around you. And it’s like what you say, what you focus on grows and what you look for, you find. So that’s a very cool exercise. Even just, like, going for a walk and just with the… with the intention of finding something beautiful or unique or different or delightful on that walk, it’s probably a much better walk than if you’re just plowing through it, counting your steps.

to plow through something = aqui, passar por algo de maneira devagar e com dificuldade pela atividade ser chata e/ou difícil
– We had to plow through many meetings today.


Yeah. Like listening to a podcast.




Except for this podcast. Obviously. Yeah. So a lot of, like, my journey towards gratitude was really just about becoming more present. So the last recommendation I will give is… we also did a series about another book called The Art of Noticing by an author named Rob Walker, I believe, but it’s, like, 131 different ways, like, creative ways to notice things in your everyday life, or something like that.


Very cool.


And it’s super fun. It’s like; “okay, just, like, the next time you’re out walking your dog, notice how many security cameras there are” and walking around the city, it’s is kind of crazy. Like, whoa! Cameras everywhere!


Oh, yeah. We’re being watched all the time. Yeah. But that’s… it’s… actually… it kind of reminds me of the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolie or Tolle. I think Eckhart Tolle, I think is how you say his name. But it’s just that noticing – you know, like, go to a park, sit on a bench and look at the flowers, look at a bee, look at a blade of grass. Just notice the things around you. And it’s so stress relieving when you do that because you realize, like, right now, in this exact moment, life is good. Like, all these problems that I am worrying about are not happening. They’re all just, like, in my head. And if you just kind of, like, bring that attention back; like, one thing that I like to do is just even, like, feel the sun on my skin or feel the wind, you know, just get into your body more and just, like, feel your feet on the ground, you know, all that stuff, that, like, grounding exercises. It’s so stress-relieving and it just puts you, like, right in that present moment, just appreciating everything around you, and you just feel, like, the weight of the world is just lifted off your shoulders temporarily. And yeah, it’s definitely a good habit to… to add to your daily routine, if possible.

a blade of grass = lit. “uma lâmina de grama”, significa “uma folha de grama”
– I want you to cut every blade of grass in the backyard today!


Yeah, 100% agree. Like, when I started with all of this stuff, essentially I realized, like, I more or less, like, “disembodied” my head from my body. Yes. So my body was essentially just, like, a vehicle to move around my anxious brain.

to disembody = “desincorporar”, aqui usado de maneira metafórica para expressar uma “separação” da cabeça e do corpo, das sensações mentais e das físicas. De maneira mais literal, “disembodied” significa “algo que não está conectado a um corpo e normalmente é”
– In this movie, the mentor character talks to the boy as a disembodied voice.


Right. Yeah.


And that’s not an ideal way to live.


No, and I think that’s how most of us live, actually. You know, it’s… we’re just… and I… and I struggle with it, too. We’re in our heads all the time, And it’s these… we have, like, 90,000 thoughts per day and a lot of them are just the same one, you know, on repeat over and over and over again. And, and if you even think about it, like, a lot of the thoughts are not even true, you know. So we’re just kind of creating this… We’re believing our thoughts and… and we’re living in this, you know, like, “headset” of a reality in our brains. And we’re not even experiencing the world around us.


Yeah. If my inner monologue was played like, publicly, it would just be, like, a loop of the most boring, mean stuff.


I know! And that’s… I think that’s how most people are, unfortunately. So it’s good just to be aware of that. Like, just because you think something doesn’t mean it’s true, chances are, it’s not. Just go back to your body, like noticing your surroundings, feel the grass, feel the wind, look around, just kind of, like, bring yourself back to that present moment.


For sure.


And you’ll feel much better. So I’m curious, when you guys did this gratitude – I don’t want to say challenge, but this experience, did you guys specifically, like, every day try to write down new things that you were appreciative of or what did it look like between you and Alexia?


Yeah, so I don’t remember everything we did because we tried out, like, a lot of different things. But still to this day, we do a nightly gratitude, like, ritual essentially. So I write in my journal all of the time, and when I’m getting in bed, I write three things that I’m grateful for. And I ask Alexia, like, “What are three good things that happened today?” She tells me, and then when I wake up in the morning, that’s the first thing I see. It’s beautiful. I don’t know if it, like, neurologically changes anything, but definitely makes me feel a little bit better.


Yeah, I actually… I mean, I don’t know about the science behind it, but I’m sure it just helps you sleep better just focusing on and what you’re grateful for rather than what you’re worried about. You know, just that simple shift is probably much better. Like, “Oh, this was really good”. And then you wake up and you’re kind of remembering the things you appreciate rather than the things that stress you out. So that’s a very… that’s really nice. Have you guys always done that or is it kind of a newer thing?


No, that started whenever we… I believe, last December, so just a few months. But honestly, I don’t think we’ve missed a day and it’s just, like, a really good opportunity to slow down and kind of… I don’t know, it’s very calming. It’s very therapeutic and… and quite peaceful.


And do you try to think of, like, three different things every single day, or do you feel like you kind of repeat a lot of the same ones?


Normally… like, if Alexia says something and I was, like, “Ah, you took mine”. We try to push ourselves to be a little bit creative. But after an entire day, it is very easy to think of three small things that you are grateful for. Like, normally I could list, like, 20 things quickly if I wanted to. Yeah. So I just kind of randomly choose three things. I don’t think about it too much. And it’s actually become, like, a habit that I do more or less without thinking about it.


I love that. I think that’s… that’s a good… I’m going to try doing that, too, before going to bed; write down three things I’m grateful for. I’ve tried to do this with my kids, but we haven’t been very consistent with it. And then they just start, like, being goofy and it doesn’t go as well as I’d like it to go. But…

goofy = bobo, pateta, brincalhão
– He had a goofy smile on his face. It was so cute!


I think goofy and goofy and gratitude can… can intertwine.

to intertwine = se interligar
– Learning and practicing are intertwined; you can’t do one without the other.


That’s true. That’s true. But then they’ll say things like, “I’m grateful for my farts, I’m grateful”. I’m like, “Oh, okay”.

fart = “peido”, “peidar”
– Mom, he farted! It smells awful!


But then you are grateful for their humor and the love that it brings to your household, I imagine.

household = casa, mas não se referindo ao local físico, e sim às pessoas e ao ambiente
– My husband and I divide the household chores so nobody gets too tired.


Yes, that is true! Yeah. And then looking back on that, when they get older, I’ll be like, “Okay, those were good moments. I appreciate this moment. At least they’re happy, they’re laughing, we’re having fun”. But well, this is awesome, Foster; and I think for people who are listening, for me, you know, in the past year or so, I feel like the most powerful thing that has happened to me in my life – on the outside is completely the same. But there have… I have gone inward a lot more and a lot of it comes with just these simple shifts in perspective. You know, rather than looking at a situation and thinking about what you’re losing, maybe think about what you’re gaining and give more focus to that. And it doesn’t mean you have to turn a blind eye or, or not see things that are wrong; like, you can, if there are legit problems, like, definitely give those your attention and try to… try to fix those if possible. But a lot of times it’s just kind of controlling your focus a little bit, you know, controlling your mind. That’s what’s so difficult with meditation, is to sit down and… and tell your mind to stop controlling you, you know, because when we have all these 100,000 thoughts, it’s really tough. But then like, like you mentioned, you know, if you’re… if the thought loop were loud enough for everyone to hear – and I’m sure it’s the case for every single person – it’s like insanity, you know what we are thinking all day long. And those thoughts over 30, 40 years, a long period of time affect us on every single level and, and really control our lives to a certain extent. So if we can start by making just teeny tiny little perspective shifts, it makes a huge difference in… And it’s not that your external world necessarily changes. It might; usually it does change in a positive way when your internal world changes, but I think most of the time we focus on changing externally, thinking that will bring us more peace or happiness, when it doesn’t. And you can change jobs…

to turn a blind eye (to something) = expressão idiomática que significa “fingir que não viu algo, ignorar a existência de algo”
– Someone needs to talk to Bob. I feel like he’s just turning a blind eye to what is happening in his company, and there will be big problems if nothing changes.


That is Jackie’s message throughout this podcast. “Look inward, outward, external validation will not make you happy”.


No, and it’s the message because it’s something that I… it’s like a message for myself. You know, I have to remind myself all the time of this. And, and I hear other people all the time saying things that I’m like, “Yeah, I, I tell myself the same story”, but it’s just not true, you know? Like, we have to… we can’t go outside for all the answers as usual. And being appreciative, being present, focusing on the beauty around you, makes a huge difference for sure. And Foster, since…. I’m sorry. Go ahead.


No, I was just going to say, I think that was… Perhaps the most important thing I learned from the little gratitude experiment that we did is gratitude is really something that you have to practice and cultivate, because, as you said, we’ve been thinking kind of crazy thoughts on a loop for, in my case, 32 years. So it takes a lot to kind of combat that and rewire that. So just small, tiny little baby steps, and incorporating more appreciation and delight in your life is super important and beneficial.


I love it. I agree. The best thing you can do – and it’s free and it’s easy. You can start today!


Yeah, cheaper than therapy.


Yeah, it is! And honestly, some therapists don’t actually encourage you to do that. I mean, I know I’ve worked with some people who’ve almost encouraged me to look externally all the time rather than changing my own perspective and just viewing things in a different light. But that’s a whole other topic.


Yeah, we’ll leave that one for another…


We’ll leave that one for another day. But Foster, what would be a good, like, homework assignment for people that can relate to you and relate to me that maybe struggle a little bit to see the positive in things. Or maybe they… they are appreciative and grateful, but they want to add a little bit more to their lives. What would be a good homework assignment for them?


Okay, I will give our listeners two options, both very easy. Option number one, you could do what I’ve been doing and just one time of day – it’s probably easiest if you do it right when you wake up or before going to sleep. Just write three things that you are grateful for. Super simple, you don’t have to think about it too much if you’re not the kind of person that keeps a journal or… I don’t know, if that doesn’t appeal to you, another easy way is just try to be delighted once per day. Like, have one moment where you’re just like, “Oh my goodness, that is so delightful!” Like “this croissant”, or… I don’t know, “that hug”. In the Book of Delights, I remember he always says, like, “What kind of miracle is this?” Like, talking about spring flowers. Yeah. So just be delighted. Allow yourself to be delighted once per day. It’ll change your life in a small way.


Yeah, absolutely. Oh, perfect, Foster. I love that. I’m going to do the homework assignment as well.


Excellent. Cool.


Well, thank you, Foster. I appreciate you and your willingness to talk about all these fun topics with me. And, yeah, let’s… I think that’s… This was a good one, huh?


Thank you, Jackie. I’m also very grateful to be able to spend time in conversation with you.


You are very welcome. All right, guys. Well, we hope you enjoyed this episode. Don’t forget to start your homework assignment and let us know what you think! And again, don’t forget to download. If you guys want to download the summaries of these episodes with the written homework assignments and some extra follow-up questions, you can do that by clicking on the link in the show notes, and it’s a good way to kind of review everything that you just heard.






Thanks, Jackie. Talk to you in the next episode. Tchau!



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