Our lives may not be perfect, but there is always something to be thankful for.
Whether it’s a job, family, or even the small things, life presents opportunities for gratitude.
Together with 11 experts, we created the ultimate list of things to be thankful for.
See which made it to the top of the list.
#1 Location Freedom: I can travel the world while growing my business. This has always been my dream.
#2 Position to Change Lives: I have been able to grant location and schedule freedom to our 100+ team members. This freedom has allowed each team member to take their lives back into their own hands by engineering their ideal lifestyles.
#3 Support: I have pursued a very unorthodox dream and lifestyle. It would be very easy to dismiss me as weird or misguided. However, the people I have surrounded myself with have been very supportive and have further propelled me to amplify my dream.
Author | Journalist | Life Coach | Editor, E-Counseling
Social media and the walls of many offices are filled with motivational posters that remind us to pause during our hurried, hectic days and to consider things to be thankful for.
Therapists do that, too.
But you don’t have to rely on them to make your own list of meaningful moments and life lessons that left you better off and more grateful than ever before.
Here are a few ideas that can be added to any Ultimate List of Things to be Grateful for:
- All the times that I survived some trauma or sense of confusion about how to make progress (include as many as you wish under this heading).
- All the miraculous, unexpected favors that people did for me (spend time recalling as many as you can, and jot them down).
- Every lucky thing that I did, remembered, or experienced (name them!)
- The soothing insights that I’ve gained over time (list them, then order them into a chronological timeline to better understand your emotional growth).
With a list like that, you can soften the pain of many problems as you read and re-read what has gone right in your life.
Founder and CEO, Mavens & Moguls
I started a global branding and marketing firm 17 years ago. I am most thankful for the health and wellbeing of my family, friends and loved ones in my life. Your health is your wealth.
I am also thankful that my business has given me a platform to do work that matters to me.
It has been with me through the “Great Recession,” the deaths of both my parents, in-laws, step-parent, etc. and allowed me to dial up and down my workload as needed.
It has provided my colleagues and me an amazing opportunity to help organizations we care about to increase their visibility and attract more customers.
I am grateful that I have been able to pivot as the economy and world around us changes so that we are more relevant today than we were when I started it.
I appreciate waking up every day and being excited by my day ahead and problems I can help solve. I love knowing that my DNA is in every piece of business we take on and that it has given me permission to change the world.
Author | Professional Speaker
Many of us can acknowledge and be thankful for the “good” stuff in our life, yet we forget about the importance of being thankful for the not-so-great things.
Being grateful for what remains after you have experienced any kind of loss can be a powerful way to deal with and heal, that loss.
Turning your attention to how your life was enriched by someone who died, for example, rather than on the vacuum the loss created, might be a powerful and healthy approach to confronting grief.
After my wife died at the age of 34, my thoughts sometimes turned to darker questions like, “How can I go on with my life without her?”
Grief also brought up a feeling of emptiness, depression, and hopelessness.
Once I started to be thankful for all that still remained in my life—my daughter, my friends, my work, etc.—I got a glimpse of why I could go on living and, in fact, fully enjoy life again.
Marketer, Best Company
I’m thankful for laughter because it’s so contagious and happy-inducing.
I honestly don’t know if there’s a better feeling in the world than sharing a deep belly laugh with people you love, and nothing cheers you up and shakes you from the weight of your circumstances when you’re feeling down quite like a good laugh.
Laughing has the unique ability to make the good times even better and the tough times a little more bearable.
Self-Improvement Author | TEDx Speaker
I try and give thanks for all that comes my way, the good and the bad.
You may ask, “Why would I want to give thanks for something bad that happened?”
Well, we are here to learn and grow, and the greatest learning opportunities usually occur during trying experiences (what a great place to hide lessons, huh?).
By being thankful for those experiences, and the new and hopefully wiser me who comes out. The trying times do eventually pass, and I am better prepared the next time they come around, or even better yet, I can help someone else going through a tough time with my experience.
I try and stay on top of this as much as I can because I have down days just like everyone else. I like to give thanks when I start my day in the morning just as I am getting out of bed as well as later in the day when I am on my daily walk.
I keep it simple and just go over in my head all of the things in my life that I am thankful for. It can include family and friends, material objects (clothes, car, computer, etc.), opportunities that I have had or that might be coming my way as well as simple things such as the flowers or trees that I am walking by.
It can include anything and everything, past, present or future. I try to be creative and make it fun.
Giving thanks on a regular basis is a habit that has transformed my attitude and allows a more positive flow of experiences to come into my life, not to mention strengthen my foundation.
Head of Digital Marketing, Your Parking Space
I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to work in 6 different countries throughout my career.
Moving around so much can be tiring sometimes, but at the same time, working in foreign countries has helped me discover new ways of thinking and communicating with people.
Traveling is the best way to go beyond your own culture and understand how things work in other countries. When you come back to your own country, you can bring all the positive things you’ve learned back with you.
Online PR Specialist, Spiralytics
We often meet new people in our daily lives and I’ve always believed that we meet each person for a reason.
That’s why if you’ll ask me what’s something that I am thankful for, it’s all the people I meet.
Just like a line from my favorite song, For Good, “people come into our lives for a reason, bring something we must learn, and we are led to those who help us more to grow if we let them and we help them in return.”
I am thankful for all the people I meet, may it be that they stay with me forever or those temporary ones who are not in contact with me anymore.
I am thankful because they taught me life lessons that I will cherish forever. They taught me that some people are only temporary, that after teaching you something valuable will not be part of your life anymore.
Some are going to be with you for the rest of your life. These are people whom you’ll be growing old with, the people you’ll keep dear to your heart.
Health and Wellness Expert, Maple Holistics
Make a List and Check it Twice
No matter where you are in life, everyone has something to be thankful for. For many, the first things that come to mind are family, friends, and health.
If you have a job you should also be thankful for that, as it provides you with money to have a roof over your head, food in your stomach and clothes on your back, and hopefully a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
But aside from the big things, make sure to be thankful for the small things in life as well. The smell of freshly cut grass, the neighbor who waves hello every morning when you go for your run, the sanitation workers who put your garbage bins back nicely instead of throwing them onto the curb.
All of these small things which make us smile during the day are so important when we consider our overall quality of life. So take time out of your day to think about all of these good things and you will be a happier person overall.
Carol Gee, M.A
Every morning when I awake I mentally review what I call My Gratitude List.
First, that in my 60s I’m l still alive. Four years ago, I lost three longtime friends, two of them at age 62. The third was the same age as I am now. I am grateful for my spouse of 45 years, who despite several chronic health issues, is still mobile and thriving.
I’m grateful that my TIA (mini-stroke) had no lasting effects. Alas, it wasn’t it occurred and my mortality flashed before eyes did I realized how much I had to lose. Things like my ability to talk, think and to write.
As such, I am more self-protective of my dreams. Reviewing my list only takes a few moments, but for those brief moments, my feelings of gratitude overflow and I feel truly blessed.
President, Drive Research
I am thankful for the ambition and hard work my employees put in for our small business.
As a small business owner making initial hires you always take a chance with new additions hoping they match the hard work, ambition, and ownership you put in each and every day.
Our company has been more than fortunate to add the incredible talent we have at our market research company which has created a culture of entrepreneurs.
Our success and growth are directly related to our collective effort. This turns into a productive week, month, and year. But it all starts with how much they are willing to put in. For that, I am fortunate and grateful.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of being thankful?
Being thankful is a powerful way to cultivate happiness and positivity in your life. It helps you focus on the good things in life rather than dwelling on the negative. By expressing gratitude, you can improve your relationships, boost your mood, and increase your overall well-being.
Can you be thankful for something small, or does it have to be big?
Absolutely! Being thankful for the small things in life is just as important as being grateful for the big things. In fact, focusing on the small things can often bring more joy and contentment into our lives.
Small acts of kindness, a beautiful sunset, a warm hug, and a good meal—these are all things that can bring a smile to our faces and fill our hearts with gratitude. So, don’t underestimate the power of the small things. They can have a significant impact on our well-being and happiness.
Remember, gratitude is a state of mind, and it’s up to us to cultivate it. So, make a conscious effort to appreciate the small things in life and watch as your outlook on life becomes more positive and fulfilling.
How can I be thankful in life?
Being thankful in life is all about having a positive and grateful outlook. Here are some tips to help you cultivate a spirit of gratitude:
• Keep a gratitude journal: Write down 3-5 things you’re thankful for each day. It could be anything from your health to a kind gesture from a stranger.
• Practice mindfulness: Take time to reflect on the good things in your life rather than dwelling on negative experiences.
• Show appreciation: Express your thanks to others, whether it’s through words or actions. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.
• Give back: Helping others is a great way to feel grateful for what you have. Volunteer your time, donate to a charity, or simply perform a random act of kindness.
• Focus on the present: Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, focus on the here and now. Appreciate what you have at the moment.
How can I be more appreciative in life every day?
Being appreciative in life can bring a lot of positivity and happiness into your daily routine. Here are some simple steps to help you cultivate a daily appreciation practice:
• Start your day with gratitude: Take a few minutes each morning to reflect on what you are thankful for. This could be anything from the roof over your head to the people in your life.
• Show kindness to others: Performing small acts of kindness can brighten not only someone else’s day but also increase your own feelings of appreciation and gratitude.
• Express appreciation regularly: Let others know when and what you appreciate about them. Verbalizing your gratitude can strengthen your relationships and bring joy to those around you.
• Focus on the positive: Make a conscious effort to focus on the positive aspects of your life rather than dwelling on the negative. Challenge yourself to find the good in every situation.
• Give back to your community: Volunteering or donating to a cause you care about can give you a sense of purpose and help you appreciate what you have.
• Practice gratitude in tough times: It can be especially challenging to feel grateful during difficult times but focusing on the things you are thankful for can help bring you a sense of peace and hope.
Is it possible to be thankful for difficult experiences?
Yes, it is possible to be thankful for difficult experiences, although it may be challenging to see the silver lining at the moment. Difficult experiences often serve as opportunities for growth and personal development. They can teach us important life lessons and help us become stronger, more resilient, and more empathetic individuals.
By reflecting on the challenges we’ve faced and the ways in which we’ve overcome them, we can cultivate a sense of gratitude for the growth and transformation that have resulted from these experiences. It’s also helpful to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, such as our relationships, health, and personal strengths, which can provide a sense of balance and perspective.
How does being thankful affect your relationships?
Being thankful has a powerful impact on relationships. It helps foster a sense of gratitude, positivity, and appreciation, essential for building strong, healthy relationships.
When we express gratitude, we acknowledge the good things that others do for us and show them that we appreciate their efforts. This can lead to feelings of warmth, connectedness, and trust, which are all key components of strong relationships.
Additionally, gratitude can help to reduce negativity and conflict in relationships. When we focus on the things we’re grateful for, we’re less likely to dwell on the things that are going wrong, which can help to reduce tension and improve our overall mood.
Can being thankful improve your mental and physical health?
Yes. Expressing gratitude has been shown to have numerous benefits for both our mental and physical health. Here’s how:
• Mental Health: Harvard Health claimed that regularly practicing gratitude can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, increase feelings of happiness and life satisfaction, and improve overall well-being.
• Physical Health: Being thankful has been linked to better sleep, reduced stress, and even a stronger immune system. It’s thought that this happens because gratitude helps shift our focus away from negative thoughts and experiences, which in turn reduces the harmful physical effects of stress on our bodies.
How can you teach your children to be thankful?
Teaching children to be thankful is an important aspect of parenting. Here are some tips to help you instill a sense of gratitude in your children:
• Lead by example: Children often learn from observing their parents. Show your children how to express gratitude by saying thank you, writing thank-you notes, or giving hugs and kisses.
• Encourage gratitude habits: Encourage your children to make a list of things they are thankful for each day or write thank-you notes to someone who has helped them.
• Focus on experiences: Encourage your children to appreciate experiences, such as playing with friends, going to a park, or trying new food, instead of just material possessions.
• Give back: Teach your children the joy of giving by participating in community service projects or donating to charity.
• Be patient: Instilling a sense of gratitude takes time and patience. Focus on positivity and the good things in life, and your children will eventually develop an attitude of gratitude.
Can you be thankful for material possessions?
Yes, you can be thankful for material possessions, but it’s important to remember that true gratitude comes from within and is not dependent on external factors like material wealth.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try to focus on what you do have and be thankful for it. This shift in perspective can help you find joy and contentment in life, regardless of your material circumstances.
Is being thankful a spiritual practice?
Yes, being thankful can be a spiritual practice for many people. Expressing gratitude can help you connect with something greater than yourself and bring a sense of purpose and meaning to your life. Many religious and spiritual traditions also strongly emphasize gratitude and thankfulness.
Can being thankful make you a better person?
Yes. Gratitude can lead to a more positive and generous outlook on life. When you are thankful for what you have, you are more likely to show kindness and compassion to others. Gratitude can also help you develop a growth mindset, which is the belief that you can improve and grow as a person.
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