Thankfulness: Meaning, Quotes, and Messages
What is the meaning of thankfulness and how can you express it in your daily life? Here, we'll explore thankfulness more deeply.
What Is the Meaning of Thankfulness? ( A Definition)
Thankfulness—which can also be called gratitude or appreciation—is a positive, other-focused emotion (Emmons & McCullough, 2004). It generally involves positive feelings about another person's actions, but it might just be for the other person's existence--I'm just thankful to have you!
Thankfulness may just be one of the best things we can do to improve our well-being. Both expressing and experiencing thankfulness are linked with happiness and other positive outcomes (Bono, Emmons, & McCullough, 2004). All this is to say that thankfulness is a great thing to cultivate. And, the more often and intensely we feel thankfulness, the better.
Thankfulness and Gratefulness
In recent years, psychology research has taken an interest in studying gratitude and thankfulness. One of the most rigorous ways to do this is by creating gratitude interventions—interventions designed to teach people how to practice gratitude in their real lives. By now, numerous gratitude intervention studies have shown the benefits of gratitude. In particular, cultivating gratitude appears to be good for increasing well-being (Davis et al., 2016).
The most common strategies used in these studies that aim to promote gratitude and thankfulness involve short activities—the gratitude list, gratitude letters, gratitude journals, etc... These are short and therefore easy ways to boost well-being.
Even though some people speculate that gratitude/thankfulness interventions may not be as efficacious as other more involved psychotherapeutic interventions, they may actually be more effective (Davis et al., 2016). That is, we're more likely to actually do them so they work better in the long run and in real life. They're easy, they're fun, and they're doable—that's what really matters to us well-being seekers.
What it's like to practice thankfulness
According to the research, people really enjoy cultivating their thankfulness skills because it involves:
Hopefully, you're feeling like thankfulness is a good thing—a thing you want to express more often and to more people. So how might you express your thankfulness? Here are some messages you might share to show how thankful you are. You can express these verbally or in text, like in an email, text message, or social media message.
Whenever possible, try to focus more on appreciating who people are rather than what they do for you. These expressions of gratitude are often more beneficial for the person you are sharing them with.
Video: Morning Gratitude Affirmations
Do you want some quotes to help inspire thankfulness? Here are some great examples:
Here are some pictures that might help you think of more things you're thankful for.
Video: Want to be happy? Be grateful
Here are a couple of poems on thankfulness that might inspire you.
The research has suggested that a variety of different exercises can help us increase our thankfulness. For example, writing down 3 good things each day has been shown to be beneficial (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Here are a few other exercises that can help you practice thankfulness.
More Articles to Help You With Thankfulness
Here are a few more articles that can help you learn more about thankfulness and different ways to practice and grow this skill:
Taking a few minutes each day to practice thankfulness can be an easy and effective way to boost your mood and your well-being. Hopefully, this article was a good jumping-off point to inspire you and get you started.