Gratitude Types of Gratitude Attitude of Gratitude Notice Feel Think Do Science of Gratitude Illusions of Gratitude The Gist Gratitude Practice & Exercises Gratitude Resources

By working through this section on Gratitude, you will:

  • Understand the benefits daily gratitude can bring to your life.
  • Discover ways to express gratitude both privately and to other people.
  • Train your brain to notice simple things around you— things you can have gratitude for.
  • Savor positive feelings when given gifts.
  • Build resilience by inhaling the suffering of others and being a positive light.
  • Strengthen relationships by expressing genuine gratitude for others.
  • Develop an attitude of gratitude and become more in tune with the world around you.

Forming a habit of gratitude can lead to a more joyful way of life and can have an impact on those around you.

Maybe you think…

Gratitude is just good manners.
Gratitude is reserved for certain times.
Gratitude will instantly make you happier.
“Thank you” doesn’t always feel genuine.
Gratitude is mostly for thanking others (or God).

But Actually…

Gratitude is a complex practice. It takes time to develop and apply gratitude to your life.
We can train to be grateful in every moment.
Like most habits, gratitude needs consistency to start to have lasting effects.
There are many ways to express gratitude beyond simply saying “thank you.”
You can have gratitude for the world around you without needing to thank a person or higher power.

Learn more about illusions of gratitude here.

Assess Your Gratitude

Gratitude is one of over 50 factors of well-being measured in the Assessment Center.
Measure this factor in your own life, and learn if it’s a Strength or a Growth Zone:

The Benefits of Gratitude

Are You A Grateful Person?

You may be surprised by the results. Take the quiz to see where you stand.
The one below is quick and free.

A More Detailed Option:

Measure all your factors of well-being with the Assessment Center.
Become a member and you can measure and track your Gratitude in more detail, along with 50 other factors, as well as access premium exercises and content.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” —Dalai Lama

Some Grateful People

Brother David Steindl-Rast

Brother David Steindl-Rast is an  American Catholic Benedictine monk, author, and lecturer. He is committed to interfaith dialogue, specifically Buddhist-Christian.

Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness
Brother David compares prayer and gratitude to explore the core of what it is to be human.

David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful | TED Talk
Brother David explains in his TED talk how happiness is born from gratitude. He encourages listeners to slow down, appreciate moments, and be grateful.

A Grateful Day with Brother David Steindl-Rast –
An inspiring video to get anyone in the mood to be grateful. “Today. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.”

See a larger list of Brother David’s books, articles, and videos on the resource page.

Robert Emmons

Robert Emmons is one of the world’s leading scientific experts on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.  Through his studies, presentations, books, and articles, he reveals why gratitude is good for our bodies, our minds, and our relationships.


Robert Emmons: What Good Is Gratitude?

Gratitude allows celebration of the present: We adapt to newness (nice things become normal over time) and gratitude helps us appreciate the positives in life, notice positives more, participate more in life.

Gratitude blocks toxic emotions (envy, resentment, regret, depression) while promoting stress resilience and strengthening social ties and self worth.

See a larger list of Emmons’ books, articles, and videos on the resource page.

Kristi Nelson

Nelson is the executive director of A Network for Grateful Living, a non-profit, a global organization offering online and community-based educational programs and practices which inspire and guide a commitment to grateful living, and catalyze the transformative power of personal and societal responsibility. Being a long-time stage IV cancer survivor moves Nelson to live life with gratefulness and inspire others to do the same.


Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted

The Gratitude Explorer Workbook: Guided Practices, Meditations, and Reflections for Cultivating Gratefulness in Daily Life

Guru Gaur Gopal Das

Guru Gaur Gopal Das is an Indian Monk, writer, and motivational speaker. He has become prominent in recent years due to a large following on social media. He shares life advice and motivation and people across the world are able to access his teachings and learn from him.


Douglas R. Conant

Conant is a business leader, author, keynote speaker, and the former CEO of Campbell Soup Company. He holds a firm attitude of gratitude and has led with gratitude throughout his life. When he became CEO, Campbell’s was failing, and he turned it around by shifting the culture to one of civility and appreciation. In the years he served as CEO of Campbell’s, he wrote over 30,000 thank you notes to employees.

In 2011, Conant retired from Campell’s and founded ConantLeadership, a resource for coaching and empowering leaders to connect and create meaningful interactions with employees. Conant doesn’t make a salary from this organization and they donate all profits to organizations that help move the world forward.


The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights

TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments

3 Stories of Gratitude

Author AJ Jacobs went on a journey to thank everyone responsible for his morning cup of coffee, an experience he writes about in his book, Thanks a Thousand. For Jacobs, it turns out there were hundreds of people across the globe to thank  — farmers, chemists, truck drivers, road workers, the barista, the cup makers, the cup lid makers…the list goes on. He explains how easy it is to take the massive processes and logistics behind something as simple as a cup of coffee for granted, and he coins the idea of radical gratitude — defining every moment as a blessing, even the terrible ones.

Watch his TED talk here.

Check out the book here.

In 1999, Stephen King was walking near his summer home in Maine when a distracted driver swerved off the road and hit him. King flew 14 feet in the air, landing in a ditch. He had multiple serious injuries and spent nearly a month in the hospital.

A year later when reflecting on the accident, he said:

“I have a lot of pain, but there’s so much that doesn’t hurt, that I’m capable of. To be able to walk around, to still be able to make love to my wife — because that could have gone as well, it’s just a physiological thing. I’m grateful for everything that I have, and I try to stay as grateful as I can, because it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve made or how rich you are or whether your book’s on the Internet or anything else. If you snap your spine, you’re a quad, and mine was chipped in five or six places, almost down to the bare wires in a couple of places, so I’m very lucky.”

In June 2019, 20 years after the accident, he posted on Twitter:

“On June 19th, 1999 I got hit by a van while taking a walk.  As I lay unconscious in the hospital, the docs debated amputating my right leg and decided it could stay, on a trial basis. I got better. Every day of the 20 years since has been a gift.”

Read the Article here

Elizabeth Bartlett was in need of a heart transplant. A wife and mother, Bartlett had faced death multiple times due to her battle with heart disease. She suffered numerous cardiac arrests before she was fortunate to receive a heart transplant in her forties. In a book chronicling her journey, she writes on how she felt thankful for her new lease on life—but simply feeling thankful wasn’t enough.

Bartlett writes,

“I have a desire to do something in return. To do thanks. To give thanks. Give things. Give thoughts. Give love. So gratitude becomes the gift, creating a cycle of giving and receiving, the endless waterfall. Filling up and spilling over… perhaps not even to the giver but to someone else, to whoever crosses one’s path. It is the simple passing on of the gift.”

Read the Article here

Check out her book here

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

Gratitude Revealed Official Trailer
Award winning cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg provides a backdrop for examining gratitude and the human condition around the world. Narrated by words from benedictine monk Brother David, along with expert advice and quotes, this inspiring film will get you in the mood for gratitude. Find where to watch the full film here.

How can something as simple as saying “thank you” have such a big impact on our life?

What is Gratitude? A Quick Overview

Gratitude is the affirmation that there are good things in life. And it can be cultivated as a fundamental orientation to life, no matter our circumstances.

“Gratitude is the recognition that life owes me nothing, and that all the good I have is a gift. It is a response to all that has been given. It’s a way of seeing that alters our gaze. Living gratefully begins with affirming the good and recognizing its sources” (Emmons, 2007)

Gratitude and positive psychology researcher Robert Emmons says there are two parts to gratitude:

  1. Affirmation of goodness in our life.
  2. Recognizing the source of goodness is wholly or partially outside oneself.

Research shows to reap the benefits of gratitude, it must be a consistent practice, rather than a random thought once in a while. Consistent affirmation and recognition contribute to having an Attitude of Gratitude, a fundamental life orientation centered on gratitude in any moment.

The gratitude section of A Meaning of Life will focus on the 4 components model of defining and practicing gratitude:

  • What we NOTICE in our lives for which we can be grateful.
  • How we THINK about why we have been given those things.
  • How we FEEL about the things we have been given.
  • What we DO to express appreciation in turn.

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette


Be grateful for your life, every detail of it,
and your face will come to shine like a sun,
and everyone who sees it will be made glad and peaceful.
Persist in gratitude, and you will slowly become one with the Sun
of Love, and love will shine through you its all-healing joy.

This path of gratitude is not for children;
it is the path of tender heroes, of the heroes of tenderness who,
whatever happens, keep burning on the altar of the heart,
the flame of adoration.

Meditation on Suffering, Gratitude, and Compassion

There is a practice of “Giving and Receiving” (Tonglen in Tibetan) in which we aim to offer our joy and compassion out into the world. As a response to one’s own and others’ suffering, this meditation can be a powerful addition to your Gratitude toolbelt. Learn more about Tonglen here:

An Antidote to Dissatisfaction
Goes more in-depth about what gratitude is, and explains some evolutionary roots to gratitude. The video explains: one of the best predictors for how happy people are, how easily they make friends, and how good they are at dealing with hardship is if they practice gratitude.

HOW TO BE HAPPY IN 2021? David Steindl-Rast
At 95 years old, Brother David shares wisdom on how to be happy, as well as explaining the connections between happiness and gratitude.

Oprah Talks about the Gratitude Journals
Oprah speaks to the importance of her daily gratitude practice. She says, “If you want to change your state of being, choose to be grateful.”

Oh, To Be Grateful | Spoken Word Poem by Natalie Patterson
Poet Natalie Patterson shares her outlook on gratitude. “Whenever life sucks, … I remind myself to count my blessings”

Mantragold – Gratitude (Official Music Video)
An inspiring song and accompanying video.

Moving Poem About Thankfulness
A poem sharing thankfulness to God / a higher power.

An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness
SoulPancake asked people to write a letter of gratitude to someone, then surprised them by calling the person and having them read the letter.

Heartwarming P&G ‘Thank You Mom’ olympic campaign ads: 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson

As you read through the pages in this section, the following path is recommended, as some of the ideas build on each other:

  1. Gratitude: The Gist
  2. The Science of Gratitude
  3. Illusions of Gratitude
  4. Types of Gratitude
  5. Attitude of Gratitude
  6. Notice
  7. Think
  8. Feel
  9. Do
  10. Practice and Exercises
  11. Resources and Inspiration

Gratitude Types of Gratitude Attitude of Gratitude Notice Feel Think Do Science of Gratitude Illusions of Gratitude The Gist Gratitude Practice & Exercises Gratitude Resources