Thankfulness and gratitude are essential components of a happy life. Acknowledging the good in your life works wonders. It makes you happier, healthier, and more content overall.
Although the Thanksgiving holiday revolves around gratitude, we shouldn’t limit the practice to once per year. For happy lives, we should embrace thankfulness and gratitude all year long.
What’s the Difference Between Thankfulness and Gratitude?
Colloquially, we often use thankfulness and gratitude interchangeably. However, the words are slightly different.
Thankfulness is about the feeling of being happy or relieved by a benefit that you’ve received. Gratefulness is taking it one step forward and showing appreciation for the advantage that you’ve received.
When you’re thankful, you’re expressing the emotion you feel when something good happens, and when you’re grateful, you’re making a conscious effort to show appreciation for that good thing.
What is Another Word for Thankfulness?
We use many different words and idioms to express thankfulness. Gratitude, appreciation, and gratefulness are common synonyms, but pleased, delighted, and satisfied can also be used in the proper context.
We also express thankfulness with various idioms and phrases. The casual “thanks a million” works as a quick one-off, while the formal “My sincerest appreciation for what you have done” may be needed in a traditional setting. Other idioms like the bashful “you shouldn’t have!” or the sly “I owe you one” can also convey gratitude.
What does Thankfulness Mean?
Thankfulness means being conscious of a benefit and appreciating that we received that benefit. It’s a feeling of happiness and gratitude when something good happens to us.
Although the meaning of thankfulness is pretty simple, expressing it can often be more difficult.
How Can We Express Gratitude?
Saying Thank You to Those Who Help Us
We can express gratitude in numerous ways. A genuine, heartfelt “thank you” to the person who assisted us is a simple yet powerful method of showing appreciation.
Saying thank you and meaning it does go a long way. People sometimes don’t realize how powerful these two little words can be.
Writing thank-you notes is also a great way to show appreciation. Unfortunately, the written thank-you note is falling out of favor. However, the fact that it’s so rare makes it appreciated even more.
We can also express deep gratitude through our actions rather than our words. We can repay the person who helped us, either in kind or by doing something for them that they can’t do themselves.
Another option is to pay it forward. Instead of repaying whoever helped us, we can model their behavior and help others in similar situations.
Expressing Gratitude for Our Blessings
Sometimes we are thankful for experiences, ideas, or just our position in life. There isn’t always someone to thank in these instances, but expressing gratitude is still essential.
Showing gratitude for your position or things outside your control helps keep you grounded. It can also improve your life by forcing you to be conscious of the good stuff you have, even when you don’t feel there’s much to celebrate. Although we sometimes feel like there isn’t anything worth being happy about in our lives, when we reflect and actively think about it, we can usually come up with a handful of things to celebrate.
There are numerous ways to express gratitude for the good in our lives. Here are some ideas to get you started.
keeping a gratitude journal is a fantastic way to express appreciation for all the good in your life.
When we make it a point to keep a daily gratitude journal, we can go back to previous entries when we feel terrible about our situations, giving us written reminders of all the good we do have.
Saying Thanks Out Loud
You don’t have to write it down if that’s not your jam. Simply saying thank you out loud is enough to express gratitude.
Set aside a few seconds each day to say a simple thank you to yourself for all the good you have in your life. When something spectacular happens, take a moment to offer a verbal “thanks.”
Prayer is a method of verbally expressing gratitude to a specific deity. If you’re religious or spiritual, you may want to express your thanks to a guiding spirit, your god/goddess, or the universe in general.
Prayer is a universal way to express thanks to god, regardless of which deity you worship. Many of us find comfort in a higher power providing us with blessings, and conveying your appreciation to this spiritual being is an ideal way to express gratitude.
A final method of showing gratitude is saying thanks to yourself. Many of the blessings you have in your life are due to your own work, diligence, and strength.
Take a moment to acknowledge your power in creating the good in your life. Thank yourself by indulging in your favorite self-care activities. Treat yourself to a massage, soak in a toasty bubble bath, or take time out to relax with your favorite book.
The options for thanking yourself are endless. Choose what speaks to you and show gratitude to yourself.
What Should We Be Thankful for?
It can be hard to think about the positives when life is overwhelming. But usually, there is something that you can be thankful for.
Many are thankful for good health, a job that pays the bills, or a specific person in their life.
Sometimes when we are at our lowest, we might not have these things. When I struggled with depression, my cat was the only thing I could think of to be thankful for thing I could think of to be thankful for was my cat. Maybe for you, it’s a favorite television show, a nice day, or comfort food.
Finding that small thing to be thankful for can help you realize that there might be more to appreciate.
Ideas of Things To Be Thankful For
If you’re struggling to come up with something to be thankful for, consider this short list of ideas. Here are examples of people, places, things, and ideas that others are thankful for this year.
May this list inspire you to find something in your life to be thankful for and use that to create your own short list of the good things you have in your life.
- Family and friends
- Loved ones
- Zoom/Facetime/Facebook Messenger
- A beloved pet
- A significant other
- A grocery store within walking distance
- Space heaters
- A comfy robe
- A good book
- Support groups
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Access to clean water
- How pretty it is outside
- The internet
- A roof over your head
- A job
- That warm cup of coffee
- The ability to read/write
- A cherished heirloom
Hopefully, this shortlist will give you some ideas of the things you have in your daily life that you can be thankful for. Sometimes we just need to learn to appreciate the small things (like a warm robe!) we have, which can help us realize all the good in our lives.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Expressing appreciation is important because it shifts your mindset. It helps you focus on the positive things in your life.
Shifting your worldview to focus on the positive helps you show kindness to others, enhances your well-being, and makes you more content with your life. Practicing gratitude is life-changing in many small ways that add to considerable differences in your daily life.
Setting Intentions to Be Grateful
It can be hard to remember to be grateful. Life gets in the way, and sometimes we take the good things in our lives for granted.
Intentions are excellent tools that prevent us from taking things for granted. Setting intentions help you get in the right mindset for doing what you want in life, and if you want to be more appreciative, a purpose of thankfulness can help.
Set your intention to be grateful. Follow through on that intention by starting your gratitude journal and documenting three things you are thankful for every day.
Combining your intention to show more gratitude with the action of journaling will help you build a better appreciation for the things you do have.
Quotes on Thankfulness
Expressing thankfulness and gratitude is vital for a happy life. Don’t take our word for it. Listen to words of wisdom passed on from the ages on the importance of gratitude.
“It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy” – Unknown
This quote shows that happiness comes from within and is all about mindset. We will be happier if we change our perspectives and start focusing on the things we do have.
“Reflect upon your present blessings -of which every man has many – and not upon your past misfortunes, of which all men have some” – Charles Dickens
I love this quote because it highlights the fact that everyone has struggles. Everyone has gone through misfortune. No one is exempt from the harsh realities of real life. However, the opposite is also true. Most people have at least a few things to be grateful for, and focusing on the blessing rather than the misfortune is the key to a happier life.
“When I started counting my blessing, my whole life turned around” – Willie Nelson
Your whole life can turn around when you acknowledge all the good things in it.
Thankfulness is an Art We Can All Learn
There’s no right way to express appreciation, either for your blessings or to someone who helped you. Thankfulness and gratitude are personal journeys. We all have different things to be thankful for and different ways of expressing thanks.
Practicing gratitude can change your life. It’s an art we can all learn and will lead to a better life.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.