Appreciating what you’ve been given

Strength of heart

“Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

—Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical

Why does gratitude matter?

When you feel gratitude, you feel a sense of abundance. When you express gratitude—especially when it’s heartfelt—you strengthen your relationships with others. Grateful people are happier and more fulfilled. And gratitude leads you to be nicer to other people: more cooperative, patient, and trusting. 

Pulse Check

Think about how your day is going. How many of these things are true?

  • I said “thank you” to someone.
  • I did something nice to show my appreciation.
  • I can list lots of people and things that I’m lucky to have in my life.
  • I noticed when someone helped me.
  • I felt a sense of thankfulness.

How do I encourage gratitude in others?

Model it. Talk about the good things that happen to you: “I love this gorgeous spring day!” Reframe difficulties by highlighting positive aspects: “Work has been stressful lately, but I’m grateful that my boss trusts me with important responsibilities.”

Celebrate it. Acknowledge when someone demonstrates gratitude: “It makes me feel really great when you thank me for what I am doing.” Display thank you notes you’ve received where others can see them. Post Three Good Things on social media.

Enable it. Keep stationery handy for writing thank you notes. At dinner, make it a habit to begin by sharing one good thing that happened that day. Establish a birthday ritual to write notes of appreciation.

Try This:

Gratitude Letter

Write a letter to someone you’re thankful for and, if you can, read it to them.

About the Authors

Angela Duckworth is the Founder and CEO of Character Lab. She is also the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics. Her first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, is a #1 New York Times best seller.

Giacomo Bono is a professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has a PhD in social psychology from Claremont Graduate University and has extensive training and work experience involving research in health, positive psychology, youth development, and school and community programs for youth and families. He is is the co-author, with Jeffrey Froh, of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character.

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Videos about Gratitude

Robert Emmons on Gratitude

Professor Robert Emmons of UC Davis explains the benefits of gratitude and pragmatic ways to include it into your life.

An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness

Demonstrating the power of gratitude letters, five people write them, then read them aloud to the recipients, with emotional results.

Character is more than just gratitude.

There are many other strengths of heart, mind, and will.