Having an attitude of gratitude as a daily practice improves your overall well-being. Hiking is a great time to create a gratitude practice since you’re free from the distractions you have in daily life.
Read on to see the benefits of having an attitude of gratitude and a hiking gratitude list with 50 ideas to help get you started. It will change your life!
One of the things I love about hiking is that it’s a great time to start to create a conscious habit of having an attitude of gratitude. When all you have to do is take one step, then another, it’s easier to focus more on your immediate surroundings and take notice of the little things that you’d be too busy to notice in your day-day routine.
For example, when I hiked the Jordan Trail in 91°F (33°C) heat for hours on end with the pounding sun on my head, I would squeal in delight when I found the tiniest scrap of shade.
Me and at least one other sweaty smelly hiker would squeeze against a rock to soak up the shade. That might not sound like paradise, but on the Jordan Trail, it was.
Or if you’re doing a steep ascent to get to the summit and your calves are on fire, but step by step, you’re getting to the mountaintop.
Then, you’re more likely to experience body-focused gratitude and be thankful that your body has the ability to take you to such beautiful places.
In everyday life, when was the last time you thanked your body? If you’re like most of us, perhaps never.
That’s despite the fact that our hearts beat ~100,000 times each day, and without it, you’d die. Or that when you got out of bed and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water, you used 200 muscles.
Hiking has a way of making you appreciate things you normally take for granted, which makes it easier to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
So What Are the Benefits of Gratitude?
Having a daily gratitude practice is good for your mental health. According to Harvard Medical School, an attitude of gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with:
- greater happiness level
- feeling more positive emotions and having a more grateful heart
- cherishing good experiences and positive events
- improving your physical and mental health
- helping you deal with adversity in difficult situations
- building s strong relationships
Plus, having an attitude of gratitude helps you develop a sense of abundance and create an abundance mindset. You start noticing all the little things you’ve been taking for granted in your life.
When you woke up this morning, did you give thanks that you’re alive and actually woke up? Not everyone on the planet did wake up this morning.
Or how about when you turned on the tap to brush your teeth, did you give thanks that clean water came out of the tap?
Or when you opened the fridge to prepare your hiking snack, did you give thanks that there was food in the fridge so that you could prepare your snack?
If you’re like most of us, probably not. Being grateful and intentionally cultivating an attitude of gratitude for the little things in life makes us happier – both on and off the trail.
So What Does Having an Attitude of Gratitude Look Like?:
Here are a few ideas:
- Keep a gratitude journal. I write down 5 specific things I’m grateful for each day in different areas of my life.
- Be intentional and mindful throughout your day. Look for things and people to be thankful for so that it becomes a regular habit.
- When you experience negative emotions, ask yourself what you can learn from it? And be grateful for it. For example, I own a hiking company which offers self-guided hiking tours in Europe. During the pandemic, it was brutal, to say the least, and brought out my scarcity mindset. However, I kept telling myself it would make me a better entrepreneur because our thoughts matter.
From that challenging experience, I’m now a more creative, resourceful entrepreneur. And while I hope never to repeat that experience, I’m grateful for what I learned from it.
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone you’re grateful for. You’d make their day, and they’d cherish it forever. I’ve even written one to my cat, Coco, to remind myself of my heartfelt gratitude for having him in my life.
These are just a few ways that creating an attitude of gratitude could look like, but the possibilities are endless.
Hiking Gratitude List
OK, so hopefully, by now, you’re seeing the importance of having an attitude of gratitude, so what does that look like while hiking?
Here’s a list of 50 things you can be grateful for when hiking or outdoors in nature. I’m sure you can think of many more. It’s just to show you the endless ways to have an appreciation for life while on the trail.
- The opportunity to be surrounded by nature.
- Clean air and fresh oxygen to breathe in (especially true if you live in a big city with bad air pollution).
- The sound of birds chirping and other wildlife.
- The beauty of the scenery around you.
- Sunrises and sunsets that take your breath away.
- The feeling of the sun on your face.
- The chance to disconnect from technology and distractions (put your phone in Airplane mode).
- The opportunity to challenge your body and push your limits (your body is using 200 muscles with each step).
- The ability to clear your mind and gain mental clarity (I get all my best business ideas while hiking).
- The opportunity to explore new trails and locations – even if it’s not far from home.
- The feeling of accomplishment after completing a challenging hike (be sure to set yourself a hiking goal for even more feelings of accomplishment).
- The support and encouragement of hiking partners or friends as you cheer each other on.
- The chance to learn about the local environment and ecology (check out our hiking apps.).
- The feeling of peace and serenity that comes with being in nature.
- The opportunity to bond with family and friends on a hike (check out our post on tips for hiking with friends.)
- The ability to unplug from stress and responsibilities.
- The chance to connect with yourself and your inner thoughts.
- The opportunity to improve your physical health and fitness.
- The ability to appreciate the present moment and be mindful.
- The chance to reflect on personal goals and aspirations.
- The beauty of wildflowers and other plants.
- The coolness of soaking your feet in a mountain stream or waterfall.
- The challenge and thrill of rock scrambling or climbing.
- The sense of adventure that comes with exploring new terrain.
- The gratitude for your physical abilities and health.
- The sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching the summit (be sure to record it in your hiking journal.)
- The chance to see and identify wildlife.
- The warmth of the sun on your skin.
- The refreshing feeling of a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
- The ability to connect with other hikers from all over the world and share experiences (check out my post on how to find a hiking buddy).
- The appreciation for the trail maintenance volunteers and park rangers (it might inspire you to volunteer as well.)
- The beauty of a starry night sky on a moonlight hike.
- The inspiration that comes from being in nature.
- The sense of freedom that comes with hiking.
- The chance to escape the noise and chaos of the city.
- The opportunity to practice gratitude and mindfulness.
- The feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a long-distance trail like our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc.
- The appreciation for the wildlife and natural resources protected by conservation efforts.
- The satisfaction of carrying a heavy back pack and testing your endurance.
- The beauty of fall colors and changing leaves.
- The comfort of a warm campfire to keep you toasty on a cool night after a day of hiking.
- The opportunity to disconnect from societal pressures and expectations.
- The appreciation for clean water sources and their importance to life (check out my article: Water When Hiking to see how to drink from natural water sources)
- The chance to experience the beauty of winter on a winter hike.
- The beauty of the mountains, valleys, and rolling hills.
- The peace and quiet of being in a remote wilderness area.
- The feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself.
- The chance to witness a variety of weather patterns and changes (I love looking at clouds) .
- The sense of awe and wonder that comes from being in nature.
- The appreciation for the Earth and all its beauty and resources.
Try having an attitude of gratitude on your next hike, and let me know how it transformed your hike – and your life. That’s the beauty of it; when you practice gratitude on the mountain, it will follow you home.
Want more transformational hiking ideas? Check out these posts below:
- Hike and Surround Yourself with People Who Push You to Reach New Peaks
- The 1st Step to Building Momentum to Reach New Peaks + Life Goals
- Hiking the Snowdonia Way Mountain Route: 97 Miles of Amazing Views
- 5 Best Hiking Lunch Ideas and 10 Filling Hiking Snacks