32 Gratitude Quotes to Lift Your Spirits Any Day

An attitude of gratitude can inspire and motivate you even on hard days—plus, science shows it's good for your health. These inspiring gratitude quotes from thought leaders may be all you need to pause for a peaceful moment.

Two happy men embracingOliver Rossi/Getty Images

Just glance at your newsfeed and you can be quickly overwhelmed by bad news: pandemics, widespread financial struggles, politics and climate disasters can make it challenging to find the positive…and when you do, you might feel guilty for counting your blessings when so many others are hurting.

However, says Nicole Van Groningen, MD, doctor of internal medicine and an assistant professor at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles: reminding yourself to feel thankful can actually help you stay well. “It’s become clear to me that gratitude isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for the body, too,” Dr. Van Groningen says. “A few years ago I started keeping a gratitude journal, and it’s become one of the best parts of my day.”

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Health benefits of gratitude

There are a multitude of benefits from finding ways to be grateful. 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, boosts your immune system, and reduces your risk of these major diseases, Dr. Groningen says.

Thankfully (see what we did there?), looking for things to be thankful for and expressing that appreciation is one of the easiest health tips to implement. Make an effort each day to find at least three things you’re grateful for, and either write them down or tell someone else.

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

30 Big (and Little) Things to Be Grateful For


Don’t just say thanks, show it

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“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, former US President

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Beautiful inside and out

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“If you keep searching for everything beautiful in the world, you will eventually become it.” — Tyler Kent White, author and poet

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Gratitude is a choice

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“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, Shawnee Chief and warrior

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You feel like more without needing more

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“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” — Doris Day, actress


Gratitude and forgiveness go together

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“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.'” – Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, author

Here’s how to stop feeling guilty all the time.


Seeing the good in others helps you see it in yourself

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“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” — Voltaire, philosopher

15 Overthinking Quotes When You Need to Get Out of Your Own Head


Stay in the moment

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“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.” — Robert Holden, author

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Don’t take your privileges for granted

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“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” — Brené Brown, professor, lecturer, and author

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Gratitude is the key to happiness

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“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” — Mandy Hale, author


Necessity is the mother of invention

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“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” — Ernest Hemingway, author


See the good in everything

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“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Harold Kushner, rabbi and author

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Make gratitude a nightly practice

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“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” — Maya Angelou, author and poet

12 Ways to Wake Up Happier Tomorrow Morning (and Every Morning)


When eating fruit, thank who planted the tree

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“We all build on foundations we did not lay, warm ourselves by fires we did not light, sit in the shade of trees we did not plant, drink from wells we did not dig, and profit from persons we did not know.” — Peter Raible, Reverend


Become a gratitude machine

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“I’ve found in my life that the easiest way to increase my joy is to religiously practice gratitude until I’m a gratitude machine!” — Rhonda Byrne, writer

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Gratitude shows confidence

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“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” — Alfred North Whitehead, mathematician


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

Every morning you are presented with a clean slate, start yours off in a grateful way with these eight 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, author


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

Here’s How to Write the Best Thank-You Note


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.” — Brené Brown, professor, lecturer, author

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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” phrases experts say 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, actor and comedian

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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, take a step outside. Nature is so full of miracles that it’s hard not to find something beautiful, funny, or awe-inspiring. Plus, being outside in nature has powerful health benefits.


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 a negative emotion at the same time so focusing on things your grateful for crowds out negative feelings like disappointment and regret.

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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


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, philosopher

Gratitude is transformative, helping you to see the beauty and grandeur in even the simplest things.


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 five key traits associated with being successful: 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.

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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 that others are naturally drawn to? Being positive and grateful is one of the 16 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

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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, professional organizer 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,” help you to appreciate what you have and making 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, 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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Sources
  • 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.