There’s a lot to be thankful for in our everyday lives. But with daily stressors, social media, and other negative influences, it’s easy to get down and feel that the world is dreary and dark. This can harm your mental health and cause you to see life as worse than it really is.
Mindful gratitude – that is, the practice of thinking about what you are grateful for and thanking the universe for it – is positively correlated with better mental health and a better outlook overall. You can get into the habit of being more thankful by repeating affirmations in front of the mirror, before bed, or as you are out during your day.
Fortunately, great speakers, thinkers, and philosophers have uttered many life quotes that are perfect for reminding ourselves about gratitude, including men and women such as Epictetus, Zig Ziglar, Gilbert K. Chesterton, and Alfred North Whitehead — among many others! Today, let’s take a look at some inspirational quotes of thankfulness you can use to lead your life with greater gratitude.
1. “Be thankful 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
This beautifully poignant quote is just as relevant today as it was when Oprah first uttered it decades ago. It’s a timeless form of wisdom that reminds us to be thankful for what we already have instead of constantly yearning for more. As the saying goes, the grass always appears greener on the other side.
2. “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
This late President had a way with words, and this thankful quote helps to illustrate his personal view on gratitude. It’s always a good thing to remember that we must show our gratitude, not just say, “thank you,” whenever someone acts with kindness.
Instead, it’s better to repay kindness with kindness in turn. If we can get into this habit, we’ll practice gratitude and being thankful rather than just saying it.
3. “Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.” – William Faulkner
This quote is a favorite because it references a realistic element of gratitude when exchanged between two different people. It’s not enough for one person to constantly give and another to take. Instead, truly reciprocal, healthy relationships involve giving and taking between both.
4. “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr
Mr. Karr was a French journalist, critic, and writer, and his mastery of language is behind this gratitude quote.
Roses are beautiful; the fact that they have thorns is incidental and not something you can change. Rather than worrying about the way you might cut yourself if you pick up a rose, focus on the beautiful color and pleasant fragrance roses create.
5. “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire
Voltaire was a famous writer and philosopher, and although the above quote may not be his most famous, it’s still worth remembering. Appreciation, seen in this light, is an end in and of itself. It’s not something that you should pursue only to make yourself feel better. It’s something you should pursue – and practice with mindfulness – so that you feel better about others.
6. “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” – Anthony Robbins
Better known as Tony Robbins, this popular public speaker and self-help guru states what is obvious to some, yet impossible to achieve for others. Being thankful and grateful for what you have is key to minimizing your worry about what you don’t have.
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude helps souls blossom and prevents you from sweating the big things. Keep this thanksgiving quote in mind if you find yourself stressed out about a current situation.
7. “When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.” – Tecumseh
This quote is truer than most. No matter what your station in life is, how much money you have, or what challenges you face, it’s important to be thankful for things right out of the gate as soon as you wake up. If you practice being thankful right off the bat, you’ll feel better throughout the day and find that you have more energy to tackle said challenges.
On the flip side, the fault is primarily yours if you can’t find anything to be thankful for, whether it’s hot coffee, a decent breakfast, or the sun shining outside.
8. “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
Mr. Ward speaks truly when he mentions the ultimate power of gratitude and being thankful. Many of the happiest people don’t have billions of dollars (and indeed, some studies indicate that there is a “cap” on how much happiness money can buy). They also don’t have the best jobs.
What they do have is an appreciation for their current things or relationships. These people don’t focus on what they don’t have. Instead, they take their routine jobs and mindfully pay attention to all the things they experience daily.
9. “Be grateful in your own hearts. That suffices. Thanksgiving has wings, and flies to its right destination.” – Victor Hugo
The author of the massive book Les Miserables is right about one thing: gratitude and its benefits tend to come to those who deserve it. Fortunately, you can deserve the positive outlook and happy feelings inherent in giving thanks simply by practicing being thankful each day!
10. “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” – Meister Eckhart
For the religiously minded, it can be easy to get trapped into thought patterns focusing on repentance, sin, and working hard so you can feel good about your position in the next life. However, this isn’t enough to ensure you have a good experience while you are on earth.
Eckhart’s quote reminds us that it’s important to be grateful above all else, not simply to ask for forgiveness for human faults and flaws.
11. “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” – James Allen
James Allen was a British philosophical writer and one of the earliest pioneers of the self-help movement. Unsurprisingly, one of his most famous quotes relates to giving thanks for what you currently have.
Duty is an important part of our lives; our obligations shape our personal journeys, after all. Make it one of your duties to give thanks to those who deserve it. You’ll feel better about what they did and give them a little more joy in their lives, as well.
12. “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark
Frank’s right about one thing – those who don’t practice thankfulness and gratitude regularly are less likely to be thankful when something truly wonderful lands in their laps. The best way to enjoy future gifts and spells of good fortune is to be grateful for what you currently have.
Is it any real surprise that the people who seem most happy to be given gifts of money, good food, or companionship are those with very little? Not at all! In contrast, those who have much but who don’t feel thankful for any of it are unlikely to be wowed or impressed by future gifts.
13. “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.” – Cicero
Cicero was a Roman advisor and philosopher during the time of Julius Caesar and after. Though he had his own struggles, he was right about this: being thankful is arguably the greatest virtue you can cultivate.
Indeed, if you are thankful for what you have, you’ll find it easier to cultivate and showcase other virtues like honesty, integrity, and generosity.
14. “I’m thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” – Anonymous
While no one knows who originally said this quote, its truth echoes across the eons regardless. This isn’t to say you can’t feel negative emotions when you encounter difficulties or challenges; in fact, that can even be healthy from time to time.
However, it’s important to realize that every challenge in life comes with the opportunity to grow into something better. Your struggles are the crucibles through which you develop your strength.
15. “For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.” – Elie Wiesel
Wiesel’s quote is another important reminder that we should try to be thankful for every moment, even every minute, of our lives. We each only get one life, and our time on earth is precious. We would do well to try to live up to Wiesel’s example and be grateful every time we meet someone new and have the opportunity to forge a new, heartfelt connection.
16. “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” – William Shakespeare
Few know this, but Shakespeare started his life quite poor. He also struggled with his writing for several years before scraping up some fame and popularity. Even still, he died before becoming as famous as he is today.
Yet despite all this, Shakespeare is on record saying the above quote. It’s a good bit of wisdom to keep in mind as you face your own challenges.
17. “Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy.” – Jefferson Bethke
Jefferson Bethke is a contemporary Christian writer focusing on religious and self-help books, especially on helping people escape the day-to-day grind of modern workplaces. No matter what you think about his religion, he’s right: being thankful is the fastest way to rewire your brain and cultivate joy in your life.
Indeed, we’re at our happiest when we are thankful for things we’ve received or experienced. Rather than waiting to receive a new object or for the world to surprise you, why not take matters into your own hands and practice thankfulness in your day-to-day life?
18. “If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” – Gerald Good
Good’s quote is especially important to remember if you feel that your life isn’t on the ideal track you imagined. For example, maybe you aren’t working the perfect job, don’t have tons of friends, or are struggling with other mental health difficulties.
While other methods of improvement can be helpful and do exist, it might be wise to try this tip as well. Try being more thankful for the things you have in your life and you could see improvement in a matter of weeks, if not days.
19. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This philosopher, who lived in New England well before the American Revolution, had many important and time-spanning thoughts. This quote is important for anyone struggling to see the good.
As Emerson states, all things you have experienced have contributed to your advancement. No matter how successful you’ve been or where your life trajectory is heading, you have to remember that every challenge, every struggle, and every setback has been a lesson or an opportunity to cultivate strength.
20. “Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.” – Stephen King
King is a well-known and contemporary fantasy and horror writer. But although he is massively successful now, he struggled with his writing for years before he found success. At the time of his first successfully published novel, King was in massive debt and had a few kids to pay for.
But King found success due to a combination of hard work and a little bit of luck. So it’s no surprise that he is a champion for feeling thankful for what one has. King is also right about one major thing: no one succeeds in life by themselves. Success is contingent on both fortune and the actions of others.
21. “Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many – not on your misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens
Dickens is known both for his excellent novels and for his quotes! This quote is an important one to remember, as everyone experiences some misfortune at some point or another. But everyone also has good things to recognize. It’s in your best interest to focus your mental effort on those.
22. “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
This quote reflects a broader truth about being thankful. As you become more grateful for the things you have, you’ll make peace with your past, including any challenges or difficulties you may have overcome.
In the future, gratitude brings you peace and allows you to focus your efforts or dreams on what matters to you. Thus, being thankful is important for everyone of all ages, young and old alike.
23. “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou
Angelou was an accomplished doctor, but she was also an indefatigable optimist. Each day offers new opportunities to see new things, meet new people, and have wonderful experiences that add to the tapestry of your life. Treat each day like the gift it is; even if you think you’ll go to work and have a regular day, the world may surprise you if you have a grateful heart and keep it open to possibility!
24. “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson
Nelson struggled with many difficulties over his life, so he knows what he’s talking about here. Counting your blessings gives you a new perspective on your life — and your past, present, and future (as touched on above). Therefore, if you want to turn over a new leaf or give yourself the best chance to make the most of your future, start counting those blessings even if you aren’t religious. You’ll see a difference in no time.
25. “The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” – Henry Ward Beecher
In a nutshell, this quote shows that if you close your heart to gratitude, you won’t see anything worth being grateful for in the first place. However, if you start practicing being thankful every day, you’ll feel much more grateful as the effect compounds itself.
Seen in this light, it’s clear that gratitude and thankfulness is positive and self-reinforcing. There’s no reason not to start practicing it today since the benefits will only get better the longer you keep it up!
26. “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
The more grateful you are for what you already have, the more you’ll appreciate good things to come to you in the future. In fact, you’ll be more likely to see any future rewards, benefits, or advantages as true bounties and abundance.
You can’t expect abundance to arrive if you aren’t ready for it: a sentiment echoed by thinkers such as Thornton Wilder, Hannah Whitall Smith, and Roy T. Bennett. Get yourself ready for all the good that the world has to offer you and your future by being grateful for what you have today.
27. “’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say.” – Alice Walker
Whether or not you believe in God or another supreme power, keep in mind that showing gratitude and thanks is often better than asking for forgiveness or focusing on the bad things in life. This matter of perspective could help explain why many spiritual or religious people seem to have better life outlooks than those who lack faith.
28. “When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.” – Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a source of spiritual wisdom for millions around the globe. So it’s a good idea to take this quote from him to heart.
Practicing gratitude doesn’t just provide you with a new, optimistic perspective for your own dealings. It also helps you be better to others. Being grateful helps you reframe your mind and realize what it takes to do, make, or provide things. In this way, you’ll no longer accidentally be rude to service workers or take the tireless efforts of your parents for granted. You’ll feel even more grateful and respectful to the people who make your life so great.
29. “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton
Being thankful, in some respects, means that you think at a higher level than those who simply expect the world to provide for them without showing any gratitude whatsoever. Not only does being thankful make you think better and see more, but it also amplifies the happiness and gratitude you feel when new good things come into your life.
30. “Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We all suffer loss and tragedy throughout our lives. But as another saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all. This is an important quote to remember if you are ever in the midst of grief or are dealing with a difficult passing.
You should give yourself some time to grieve. But then you should focus on the excellent times you had with the person you lost or be grateful for the wonderful things you got to experience. This will enrich your memories and allow you to focus on how fortunate you were to experience those things or people in the first place, allowing you to heal more completely.
No matter where you live or where you’re going, it’s important to remember to be thankful for what you currently have and for what is ahead. Being thankful for life’s experiences and lessons is important for becoming a better, healthier person physically and mentally. It’s why thinkers such as Robert Brault, Marcel Proust, and Albert Schweitzer spent so much time stressing the importance of gratitude.
Fortunately, you can write many of these quotes in your daily, five-minute journal or simply practice them each morning when brushing your teeth to get yourself in the mindset for success and joy. Remembering these quotes is just the start of your journey toward better mental health, however.
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