Thankfulness, gratefulness, or gratitude, from the Latin word gratus “pleasing, thankful”, is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts.
Sometimes, it’s easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. It’s important to take time out and remember all of the things to be thankful for that many of us take for granted.
“Whenever there’s a thankful moment, I note it. I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.” – Oprah
Taking the time to be thankful and appreciative for things you have received, tangible or intangible, makes you feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improves your health, helps you deal with adversity, and builds strong relationships — all crucial traits both in and out of the workplace.
Numerous studies back up these claims. A 2012 study examined the effects of Thanksgiving on well-being over a three-week period with a sample of 172 undergraduate students. Research participants reported higher levels of positive emotions on the Thanksgiving holiday than on other days of the study.
Researchers took a deeper dive into what differentiated those who felt positive emotions on Thanksgiving from those who didn’t. Scientists found that participants who expressed gratitude and thankfulness on that day were more likely to feel positive emotions on Thanksgiving and increased “life satisfaction” on the following days.
- Increase your personal happiness.
- Help you get better sleep.
- Increases our success at work.
- Improves our relationships.
- Makes you healthier.
- Increases your energy.
- Helps us relax.
- Helps you live longer.
Gratitude is an expression that lets the other person know how thankful you are. To be able to express gratitude is a beautiful virtue that teaches a human to be compassionate. You may not be able to experience everyone’s problem but if you can empathize with their pain, you can help them. This ability comes from being able to express gratitude for all that we have. Don’t be ungrateful!
Look around you and there is so much that you can be thankful for. Your gratitude journal list need not belong. All you need to do is experience the little joys in life.
Neuroscience has shown the act of being thankful releases dopamine and serotonin in your brain.
Dopamine is what makes you feel good and causes you to want more, so simply starting that practice of gratitude will help you develop a habit of doing so.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that activates the happiness center of your brain, which is similar to how antidepressants work. So you can basically consider gratitude as a natural antidepressant, and some argue that it’s even better than the drugs.
Your brain cannot focus on positive and negative things at the same time. This is a key reason why practicing gratitude can help you shift your focus from being sad about the things you don’t have in your life to being glad for the things you do have.
As you begin to keep track of things you are grateful for, you will begin to feel happier because of the fact that the right hemisphere of your brain is connecting with those feel-good emotions associated with thankfulness.
One of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude Robert Emmons pointed to research showing that expressing your thoughts by writing them down has more advantages than if you just think the thoughts. It makes you more aware of them and can deepen the emotional impact it has on you.
Here you’ll find 60 very solid things to be thankful for in your everyday life. These are great reminders for you to treasure everything you have.
1. Good Health
Even if your health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.
2. Money in the Bank
Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth.
3. Good Friends
Often, it’s the quality of friendships, not the quantity.
4. Freedom of Religion
Being able to worship whomever and however, you want is something many people don’t ever experience.
5. Your Parents
Even if they’re dysfunctional, they gave you life.
There’s something magical about weekends.
7. Having a Partner
Being in a romantic relationship can teach you so much about the world and yourself.
Pets offer one of the best examples of unconditional love.
9. Learning from Mistakes
If we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.
10. Opportunity to Get an Education
The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have.
11. Having a Home
Whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, or a tent, having a place to call home is something to be thankful for.
12. An Ability to Read
If you’re reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for.
13. Breathing Fresh Air
Being able to step outside to breathe in fresh air is a good reminder of how many little things we should be thankful for.
14. A Bed to Sleep
A bed is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted until you don’t have one.
Without laughter, the world would be a sad place.
16. Safety and Security
Being able to wake up without immense fear frees us up to really live life.
Without cars, it would take a lot longer to get our activities done.
The sun’s warmth can brighten any day.
Although we often don’t think there’s enough of it, time is something we shouldn’t take for granted.
20. Clean Water
Many people on earth lack access to clean water.
21. Cell Phones
Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy.
The world sure would be a different place if we lacked the ability to love.
Books provide an opportunity to enter another world all from the comfort of your own home.
24. The kindness of Strangers
Never take the kindness of a stranger for granted.
The simplicity of a campfire creates lifelong memories.
Without pain, it would be difficult to appreciate life’s joys.
The world would be less beautiful if art didn’t exist.
Any reason to celebrate is something we should be thankful for.
29. Freedom of Speech
Being able to express your thoughts and feelings freely should never be taken for granted.
The beauty of a rainbow is unmatched.
Sometimes when there are no words to say, tears express how we feel for ourselves.
32. Waking up Today
Simply waking up today means you have things to be thankful for.
33. Indoor Plumbing
Indoor plumbing not only provides convenience, it spares us from disease.
- Wisdom that Comes with Age
Thankfully, we grow smarter over time.
Mountains provide us with beauty and recreation.
Being able to see allows us to view the world’s beauty.
37. Grocery Stores
Grocery stores mean we don’t have to spend all of our time getting our own food.
Sunsets are a reminder that we should enjoy the simple things in life.
Entertainment gives us a way to relax and enjoy life.
40. Your Mind
Being able to think, remember, and solve problems sure makes life easier.
Even if you don’t like your job, being employed means someone thought you were special enough to hire.
The world would be a boring place without diversity.
43. Moon and Stars
The moon and stars encourage us to dream.
Electricity makes most of our chores efficient.
45. Air Conditioning
Staying cool on a hot day is something people wouldn’t have dreamed about in past centuries.
Being able to hear your loved one’s voice is something that not everyone gets to do.
Watching children laugh, grow, and dream can keep things in perspective.
48. Ability to Learn
The ability to learn new things means we have endless potential.
49. People Willing to Teach
Whether it’s your grandmother teaching you to knit or your plumber showing you how to prevent future problems, be grateful that others are willing to use their time and talents to teach you something new.
The sea creatures in the ocean almost seem too mystical to be real.
51. Modern Medicine
Without advances in modern medicine, many of us wouldn’t be alive.
Music brings out new emotions.
53. Entrepreneurs and inventors
Some of life’s best inventions resulted from an entrepreneur who was willing to take a risk.
54. Warm Clothing
On a cold day, there’s nothing more important than warm clothing.
55. Freedom to Vote
Being able to have a say in the laws should never be taken for granted.
56. An Internet Connection
It’s hard to believe how easy it is to take the internet for granted, seeing how none of us had just a couple of decades ago.
Without challenges in life, we wouldn’t be the people we are now.
58. Hiking Trails
Hiking trails give us the chance to enjoy mother’s nature’s beauty.
Many of us wouldn’t be alive without today’s vaccinations.
60. Armed Forces
Our lives would likely be very different if we didn’t have protection from the armed forces.
Realizing all the things you should be thankful for is the first step, practicing gratitude is what you should start doing.
- Family Bonding Time
- Cooperation, help, and solidarity from strangers. Random acts of kindness
- Good Health of our family
- Technology that enables connection
- Frontline workers
- Exercise and fresh air
- The opportunity to help others
- Time with yourself
Gratitude is such a powerful emotion, one that can make your life better in so many ways. It’s quite difficult to feel depressed
or sorry for yourself when you are feeling gratitude.
In a study carried out by Emmons & McCullough in 2003, there was a multitude of benefits from keeping gratitude journal. A simple notebook where you write down daily what you are grateful for. The study showed that the people who kept a journal exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and was more optimistic. It also showed that people who kept the journal were more likely to make progress towards their goals.
Overall, there was a greater sense of feeling connected to others, a more optimistic view towards life, and better sleep quality, relative to a control group.
Here are 40 simple ways to make gratitude a part of every day
- Keep a gratitude journal and add to it every day.
- Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them.
- Notice the beauty in nature each day.
- Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day.
- Smile more often.
- Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world.
- Include an act of kindness in your life each day.
- Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content.
- Call your mom or dad more often.
- Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed.
- Volunteer for organizations that help others.
- Don’t gossip or speak badly about anyone.
- Spend quality time with your kids or your lover.
- Remember to compliment your friends and family when they look good.
- Write a card to someone you haven’t seen in a while and tell them something nice.
- Add to your gratitude list daily, at least one more thing each day.
- When you think of a negative thought, try to see the positive side in the situation.
- Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
- Try to take note when people do a good job and give recognition when it’s due at work.
- Reward effort, if someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.
- Meditate with your gratitude list, giving thanks for all your good fortune.
- Live mindfully, not worrying about the past or future.
- Thank the people who serve you in the community — the shopkeeper, the bus drivers, etc.
- Say thank you for the little things your loved ones do for you, things you normally take for granted.
- Post quotes and images that remind you to be grateful around your house.
- Call into an elderly neighbor and say thank you for their presence in your life.
- Call your grandparents and tell them you love them.
- Embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow.
- Send love to your enemies or people you dislike.
- Be thankful when you learn something new.
- See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
- Help your friends see the positive side to life.
- When times are bad, focus on your friends who are at your side.
- When time is good, notice and help others.
- Make a gratitude collage, cut out pictures of all the things that you are grateful for.
- Make gratitude a part of family life, share it with each other during mealtime.
- Practice gratitude at the same time every day to make it a habit.
- Focus on your strengths.
- Share the benefits of gratitude with family and friends.
- Share gratitude each day by posting a tweet, Facebook post, or Pinterest.
Starting a Gratitude Journal
You can use anything to start logging things you are grateful for.
Whether it’s in a regular journal, a notebook, or just some scrap paper, anything can be used to simply take note of the things you are thankful for. The key is to just do it both intentionally and consistently.
Tips to Get Started
1. Keep Your Journal Visible
Keep your gratitude journal in a spot that you will see regularly each day. Your nightstand is a good spot where you will see it first thing when you wake up and before you go down to bed. Personally, I like to keep mine on the bathroom counter so that I do it first thing when I’m getting ready to start my day.
2. There Is No Right or Wrong Way
You don’t have to come up with the “right” answers. Start by keeping things simple and write anything that comes to mind. You can be thankful for things like a meal you just ate, a movie you just watched, or a friend you spent time with.
3. Develop Consistency
Try to make it a habit to take some time regularly to slow down and just engage in reflecting about the things you are thankful for. Spending as little as five minutes a day has been shown to be effective. If you miss a day, it’s totally fine. Just get back to it tomorrow.
Sometimes we all need a reminder to be thankful. Having gratitude for each other makes us all feel good. If you’re struggling to find the words to say thank you and appreciation, you can always use quotes about being thankful.
- “I’m grateful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” —Anonymous
- “Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” —Roy T. Bennett
- “I will forever remain humble because I know I could have less. I will always be grateful because I know I’ve had less.” —Anonymous
- “For one minute, walk outside, stand there, in silence. Look up at the sky and contemplate how amazing life is.” —Anonymous
- “I want to thank you for never being there anymore. Your absence has forced me to find my own way.” —Anonymous
- “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” —Thorton Wilder
- “Be grateful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey
- “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” —John Wooden
- “Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” —Guillaume Apollinaire
- “It isn’t what you have in your pocket that makes you grateful, but what you have in your heart.” —Anonymous
- “If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.” Robert Quillen
- “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault
- “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
- “If a fellow isn’t grateful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” Frank A. Clark
- “If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” Gerald Good
- “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” Henri Frederic Amiel
- A roof over my head and a warm home.
- Plenty of drinkable water.
- I don’t have to go hungry.
- I can enjoy the small and free pleasures of life.
- Access to the internet.
- My friends and family.
- My health.
- The kindness of people I have never met before.
- The setbacks that have formed me and made me stronger.
- I am alive.
- Your family.
- Close friends.
- Good health.
- Your home.
- Your job.
- Healthy food.
- Your education.
- Your pets.
I’m very grateful for my parents as they gave me life and raised me with their love and sweat. They are always standing behind me, cheering me on, and giving me a hand when I need help. My teachers. … They always find ways to help us improve, and love us, and care about our futures as if we were their own children.
Step 1: Put your gratitude on paper. Write down the names of three people or things in your life you are grateful for, and why.
Step 2: Have a gratitude conversation.
Step 3: Tell someone you appreciate them.
Step 4: Pay it forward.
Step 5: Reflect and repeat.
- Technology. This year would’ve been a lot harder without technology.
- Modern Medicine. There’s nothing more comforting during a pandemic than knowing you live in a world with such advancements in medicine.
- Loved Ones.
- Basic Amenities.
- Learning and Progression.
- Your Body.
- Don’t be picky: appreciate everything.
- Find gratitude in your challenges.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Express yourself.
- Spend time with loved ones.
- Improve your happiness in other areas of your life.
- Smile more.
- Exercise for seven minutes.
- Sleep more.
- Spend more time with friends and family.
- Go outside more often.
- Help other people.
- Plan a trip (even if you don’t ever take it).
Living a life of gratitude provides you the feeling of greater happiness and joy. You feel more at peace, lighter, and more satisfied with your life. All these emotions are connected with optimism and empower you to view your future with optimism.
Without hesitation my top three important things in life are faith, health, and family. The list goes on from there with friends, happiness, hope, a positive attitude, security, comfort, and compassion.
- Life. Life is a gift and life with love is heaven on earth.
- Laughter. Being with someone who makes you laugh every day is healing, enriching, and just downright fun.
Taking the time to be grateful and appreciative for things you have received, tangible or intangible, makes you feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improves your health, helps you deal with adversity, and builds strong relationships — all crucial traits both in and out of the workplace.