- Gratitude can improve our relationships and make us feel good too.
- Noticing things that we're thankful for in our daily lives—from a beautiful sunrise to good health and a loving family—can boost our well-being.
- Other strategies for being more thankful include writing gratitude notes or starting a gratitude journal.
Do you want to express thankfulness for the people, things, and experiences in your life? That's great! Gratitude can not only help us form closer, more satisfying bonds with others, but it feels good too. So in this article, we'll give you a list of things to be thankful for in different areas of your life.
What is thankfulness?
Gratitude—or thankfulness—is often considered to be a positive emotion (Chipperfield, Perry, & Weiner, 2003). Expressing and experiencing thankfulness is strongly linked with happiness and well-being (Bono, Emmons, & McCullough, 2004). In short, being thankful feels good and is good for us.
But it's not always easy to think of things to be thankful for. So here's a list of ideas to get you started.
Things to be thankful for today
- Having air to breathe
- The feeling of the sun
- The smell of flowers, fresh-cut grass, or trees
- The people we have in our lives
- That our parents gave us this life
- To be alive
- For a beautiful sunrise
- For the beach
- For each new day
- For opportunities
- For the opportunity to learn from mistakes
- That today is probably not the worst day
- For a hot cup of tea or coffee
- For the hard times, because they will help us appreciate the good times
- For failure, because it makes us stronger
- To be able to think our own thoughts
- For the body—it carries us through this life
- To be able to learn new things
- To have a place to sleep at night
- For time to experience life
- For simply existing
- That I will get to live today and hopefully tomorrow, too
- For health, even though it may not be perfect
- For family
More tools to help you with thankfulness
In one study, participants were asked to write down three good things each day (and note down their causes). They did this for just one week. The results showed that this strategy made them happier after that week and even 6 months later (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). This suggests that noting the good things—and perhaps being thankful for them—has long-term, positive impacts on our happiness. Other strategies can be to write gratitude notes or start a gratitude journal.
Taking a few minutes each day to practice thankfulness can be a cool and fun way to boost happiness. Hopefully, you got some ideas here that will help you think of even more things to be thankful for.
This post was adapted from an article published at The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.
Chipperfield, J. G., Perry, R. P., & Weiner, B. (2003). Discrete emotions in later life. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 58(1), P23-P34.
Bono, G., Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2004). Gratitude in practice and the practice of gratitude. Positive psychology in practice, 464-481.
Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410.