17 Gratitude Quotes That Can Help You Feel Grateful

An attitude of gratitude can inspire and motivate you even in dark times. Here are some gratitude quotes to make daily thankfulness a habit.

An attitude of gratitude

Besieged by bad news about the Covid-19 pandemic, politics, and world disasters, it can be difficult to find anything positive, much less something to be grateful for. Yet even though times are tough, there are more things than ever to be thankful for and it’s worth looking for them, says Nicole Van Groningen, MD, doctor of internal medicine and an assistant professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. (Here are therapist tips for finding hope in dark times.)

“A few years ago I started keeping a gratitude journal and it’s become one of the best parts of my day,” she says. “It’s become clear to me that gratitude isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for the body, too.”

Health benefits of gratitude

There are many benefits of showing gratitude. On the mental health side, gratitude lowers symptoms of depression, reduces stress, improves social relationships, and increases willpower and resilience. It benefits your physical health as well, improving cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, improving sleep, reduces chronic pain, and boosts your immune system, Dr. Van Groningen says.

Thankfully, looking for things to be thankful for and expressing that appreciation is one of the easiest health tips to follow. Make an effort each day to find at least three things you are grateful for and either write them down or tell someone else. Need ideas? Start with these big and little things to be grateful for.

To keep you inspired and motivated to make daily thankfulness a habit, we’ve rounded up some of the best gratitude quotes.

Each day is a new opportunity

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“This is a wonderful day, I’ve never seen it before.” — Maya Angelou, author and poet

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude starts with simply being grateful for each new day and the opportunities it brings. Every morning you are presented with a clean slate. Start yours off in a grateful way with these morning mantras for a brighter day.

Soul food

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” — Melody Beattie, self-help author

Looking for things to be thankful for doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it’s a skill you can learn and get better at.

Say thanks

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward, inspirational writer

Finding things to be grateful for is a great start, but to really reap the mood-boosting benefits and spread a little joy in the world, you need to express your gratitude. This is especially true if you are grateful for someone else or something they’ve done for you.

It really is the little things

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“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” — Brene Brown, professor, lecturer, and author

People often look for happiness in possessions or accomplishments, but true joy is found in the little things.

It all starts with being thankful

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“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, ancient Roman scholar

Looking for the good and being thankful automatically leads to other positive characteristics like humility, abundance, charity, and wisdom. In fact, saying “thank you” is one of the “magic” words that can change your life.

Happiness is a choice

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“I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy.” — Will Arnett, Canadian actor and comedian

This may sound easier said than done, particularly for people who are more inclined to be pessimistic. Try these things to be optimistic and watch your ability to be grateful grow.

Go outside

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“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” — Louie Schwartzberg, director

If you’re having a difficult time finding something to be grateful for, step outside. Nature is so full of miracles that it’s hard not to find something beautiful, funny, or awe-inspiring. (Need convincing? Check out these many benefits of nature.)

Open your arms

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“When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.” — Kristin Armstrong, Olympic gold medalist in cycling

It’s hard to hold both a positive and negative emotion at the same time, so focusing on things you’re grateful for crowds out negative feelings like disappointment and regret. Ready to start? Try these surprising happiness boosts.

Past, present, future

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“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie, author

Practicing gratitude makes you instantly happier now, but it can also help you process pain from your past and give you hope for a better future.

It’s a gift

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“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” — Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker

Teaching kids gratitude while they’re young is one of the best gifts you can give them. Kids are born knowing how to want so we have to teach them how to be thankful. Nothing is better than a thank-you note drawn in crayon.

A fresh perspective

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“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” — John Milton, English philosopher

Gratitude is transformative, helping you to see the beauty and grandeur in even the simplest things. It’s not hard to find beauty when nearly everything becomes beautiful in your eyes. For beauty on a grander scale check out these beauty destinations around the world.

Gratitude breeds success

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“Gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.” — James E. Faust, religious leader

Science identified the life skills for health, wealth, and success: emotional stability, determination, control, conscientiousness, and—you guessed it—optimism and gratitude.

Every hour is grace

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“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, Holocaust survivor and author

Wiesel found things to be grateful for even in a concentration camp, a skill that he says helped him survive. The mind is a powerful tool. This is how reframing your thoughts can change your life.

The mark of a good person

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“Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful.” — Joseph B. Wirthlin, businessman and religious leader

Want to be one of those people who others are naturally drawn to? Being positive and grateful is one of the secrets of naturally charming people. Gratitude is contagious and makes those around you happy too, and people like to be around those who make them feel uplifted.

Saying “thank you” is free

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“Gratitude is not a limited resource, nor is it costly. It is abundant as air. We breathe it in but forget to exhale.” — Marshall Goldsmith, executive leadership coach and author

Don’t be stingy with your thanks or your praise of others. Here are some other healthy habits to adopt with your family.

Gratitude can help you let go

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“Have gratitude for the things you’re discarding. By giving gratitude, you’re giving closure to the relationship with that object, and by doing so, it becomes a lot easier to let go.” — Marie Kondo, Japanese consultant and author

Kondo’s approach to decluttering became revolutionary not just in housecleaning but as a whole lifestyle for many people. Why? She encourages people to give gratitude to their things for their “service,” to help you appreciate what you have and make it easier to give it away when its usefulness has ended.

Roses and thorns

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“Some people grumble that roses have thorns. I am grateful that thorns have roses.” — Alphonse Karr, French writer

Sometimes we all need to be reminded that while it’s true the bad always comes with the good, there’s always good to be found with the bad. Learning to spot the good in any situation, and be thankful for it, is a tiny mental change that can help you stay up in down times.

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  • Nicole Van Groningen, MD, doctor of internal medicine and an assistant professor of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, MS, is an award-winning journalist, author, and ghostwriter who for nearly two decades has covered health, fitness, parenting, relationships, and other wellness and lifestyle topics for major outlets, including Reader’s Digest, O, The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health, and many more. Charlotte has made appearances with television news outlets such as CBS, NBC, and FOX. She is a certified group fitness instructor in Denver, where she lives with her husband and their five children.