There is no shortage of resources on cultivating a gratitude practice. Some resources take a religious or spiritual approach, others are grounded in the science of gratitude or draw from personal experience. Below is an incomplete list of titles to inspire your gratitude practice.
The Yoga Moves MS Giving and Gratitude challenge runs the entire month of January and it’s not too late to join us as we embark on generosity as a way of life. Here’s what to do:
- Spend a few minutes journaling on our gratitude prompt of the day. (We have included a list of prompts for the month of January and you can follow along on our Facebook or Instagram)
- Perform an act of giving each day. (We have included a list of suggestions, most of which cost nothing and require no special skills or equipment.)
Interact with others challenging themselves on our daily social media posts and “in person” during our virtual yoga classes. Building a life of generosity and gratitude is a practice. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, just begin again.
Resources for Gratitude Practice
The resources for gratitude practice below are listed alphabetically in each category by author. Descriptions are from Amazon, Goodreads, library websites, or the publisher’s page.
Science and research on gratitude
The first major study of gratitude that shows how “wanting what we have” can measurably change people’s lives. Did you know that there is a crucial component of happiness that is often overlooked? Robert Emmons—editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology—examines what it means to think and feel gratefully in Thanks! and invites readers to learn how to put this powerful emotion into practice. Scientifically speaking, regular grateful thinking can increase happiness by as much as 25 percent, while keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks results in better sleep and more energy. But there’s more than science to embrace here: Emmons also bolsters the case for gratitude by weaving in writings of philosophers, novelists, and theologians that illustrate all the benefits grateful living brings.
Gratitude, like other positive emotions, has inspired many theological and philosophical writings, but it has inspired very little vigorous, empirical research. In an effort to remedy this oversight, this volume brings together prominent scientists from various disciplines to examine what has become known as the most-neglected emotion. The volume begins with the historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations of gratitude, then presents the current research perspectives from social, personality, and developmental psychology, as well as from primatology, anthropology, and biology. The volume also includes a comprehensive, annotated bibliography of research on gratitude. This work contributes a great deal to the growing positive psychology initiative and to the scientific investigation of positive human emotions. It will be an invaluable resource for researchers and students in social, personality, and developmental, clinical, and health psychology, as well as to sociologists and cultural anthropologists.
The Gratitude Project: How the Science of Thankfulness Can Rewire Our Brains for Resilience, Optimism, and the Greater Good edited by: Jeremy Adam Smith, Kira M. Newman, Jason Marsh, & Dacher Keltner
In our fractured, “me-first” world, the science and practice of thankfulness could be just the antidote we need. Gratitude is powerful: not only does it feel good, it’s also been proven to increase our well-being in myriad ways. The result of a multiyear collaboration between the Greater Good Science Center and Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis, The Gratitude Project explores gratitude’s deep roots in human psychology—how it evolved and how it affects our brain—as well as the transformative impact it has on creating a meaningful life and a better world. With essays based on new findings from this original research and written by renowned positive psychologists and public figures, this important book delves deeply into the neuroscience and psychology of gratitude, and explores how thankfulness can be developed and applied, both personally and in communities large and small, for the benefit of all. With contributions from luminaries such as Sonja Lyubomirsky, W. Kamau Bell, Arianna Huffington, and many more, this edited volume offers more than just platitudes—it offers a blueprint for a new and better world.
How-to: Gratitude exercises, journals, workbooks, and other tools
This book was recommended by Dr. Amy Sullivan, the first speaker in the YMMS Gratitude Challenge webinar series.
Gratitude is a choice. If we fail to chose it, by default we choose ingratitude. And once allowed into the heart, ingratitude does not come by itself, but with other seedy companions that only succeed in stealing joy. Derived from a popular Revive Our Hearts radio series, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy challenges and equips the reader to live a life of intention, a life based on thankfulness for the freedom Christ has provided and for the blessings of others. By intentionally thanking God and others, bitterness and entitlement are replaced with joy and the humble realization of just how undeserving we really are.
There is a compelling symbiotic relationship between gratitude and grit – when we tap into one, we have more access to the other. Gratitude invites us to move our intention inward and deepens our connection to what is nurturing and sustaining us now. Grit, on the other hand, helps us engage with the external challenges we face. The combination of these strengths keeps us moving and helps us tackle what might be challenging in our lives. Together these qualities expand our capacity to be adaptable and build resilience. The good news is that both gratitude and grit are accessible to every person. We each have the raw ingredients of these qualities already in our natural habits and accumulated life experience. This journal is designed to help you access both the gratitude and grit that are within you, so you can intentionally grow these qualities. The questions serve as springboards for your reflections on what is already going well, and they’ll help you discover where to give more focus when you need to persevere.
Recent dramatic advances in our understanding of gratitude have changed the question from “does gratitude work?” to “how do we get more of it?” This book explores evidence-based practices in a compelling and accessible way and provides a step-by-step guide to cultivating gratitude in our lives. Living Gratitude also shows how religious, philosophical, and spiritual traditions validate the greatest insights of science about gratitude.
The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks by Robert A. Emmons
Gratitude is the simple, scientifically proven way to increase happiness and encourage greater joy, love, peace, and optimism into our lives. Through easy practices such as keeping a daily gratitude journal, writing letters of thanks, and meditating on the good we have received, we can improve our health and wellbeing, enhance our relationships, encourage healthy sleep, and heighten feelings of connectedness. Easily accessible and available to everyone, the practice of gratitude will benefit every area of your life and generate a positive ripple effect. This beautiful book discusses the benefits of gratitude and teaches easy techniques to foster gratitude every day. It also includes an 8-week gratitude plan.
Invite gratitude and well-being into your life with short, daily writing prompts. Happiness begins with gratitude―the feeling of appreciation for the people and experiences in our lives that have helped or supported us in some way. This gratitude journal makes it easy and enjoyable to develop a daily practice through insightful prompts that only take a few minutes to complete. You’ll feel inspired to notice things—big and small—that you might otherwise take for granted and pause to feel grateful for them.
This guided journal will help you cultivate gratitude through the exercise of mindfulness and journaling. Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal will help you center your day around positive feelings and gratitude. It’s the perfect place to record and celebrate anything that you are grateful for and to preserve important memories. This 90-day journal gives you a path to creating a habit of daily gratitude that you can carry with you throughout your life. Cultivating gratitude is one of the most potent and important mindfulness exercises, and thankfulness has proven to have a positive effect on a person’s mental health and general well-being. Each page of the journal includes space to record expressions of gratitude, personal affirmations, memories of positive interactions, and commentaries on the significance of it all. The journal is intended for those who want to foster deep reflection as well as for those who simply want to discover the effects of thankfulness. Having filled the journal with statements of gratitude, you will end up with a personal trove of wonderful reflections, which can be a source of positive inspiration at any time.
Gratitude Journal: Invest few minutes a day to develop thankfulness, mindfulness and positivity by Sujatha Lalgudi & Hippidoo
This 90-day journal offers a simple, yet powerful pen to paper method to invite positivity, gratitude and well-being into your life. By investing just a few minutes a day with this journal, you will discover the power of positivity by consistently taking small steps – two to three minutes in the morning and evening – to integrate gratitude, affirmations, wellness check and review of goals that infuse positivity towards living a fantastic life.
Each morning, begin with a daily quote and with help of prompts reflect on the small or big things about people in your life, your experiences that you feel grateful for and think about what would make the day great. At the end of the day reflect on the progress towards your goals and learnings from the experiences of the day. Using easy prompts, questions and positive affirmations this book helps us practice mindfulness and integrate gratitude into our lives.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude yields many benefits: physical, mental and spiritual. In this Journal, you have flexibility to write down the dates of entry and not feel guilty if you miss a day. There are also pages in this journal where you can just draw something beautiful. Every page contains an inspirational quote (non religious). Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation for what one has. Write down three to five things you are grateful for in this journal and turn your ordinary moments into blessings.
The Gratitude Explorer Workbook: Guided Practices, Meditations, and Reflections for Cultivating Gratefulness in Daily Life by Kristi Nelson
A Network for Grateful Living, creators of the best-selling Everyday Gratitude and Wake Up Grateful, present a distinctive workbook for readers who want to start a gratitude practice or integrate gratitude into their lives with greater intention and consistency. This interactive package acts as both a guide and a journal for recording thoughts and meditations. Dozens of writing prompts, guided meditations, and exercises for beginning and progressively deepening a daily gratitude practice are paired with quotations and space for writing and personalizing the book. The beautifully designed gift package includes bonus features in the back: 10 quotation postcards, mini-cards for keeping in a wallet or leaving for others, conversation starters, gold star stickers, and reusable affirmation stickers, as well as die-cut bookmarks for each section of the book.
Is it possible to be grateful in challenging times? Our wellbeing depends on it, but how do we achieve it? In Wake Up Grateful, Kristi Nelson, executive director of A Network for Grateful Living, unlocks the path to recognizing abundance in every moment, no matter the moment. With questions for reflection, daily exercises, and perspective prompts, Nelson introduces readers to the benefits of a daily gratitude practice. Using the story of her own cancer experience as a touchstone, Nelson provides deep insight and help in finding resilience and wellbeing in the face of life’s uncertainties and offers the promise of profound personal change.
Let this pack of 50 beautiful and inspiring affirmation cards kindle gratitude and happiness in your heart. Select one, make its quotation your theme, and connect with goodness in every corner of your life.
Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal: A 52 Week Guide to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude from Pretty Simple Press
Good Days Start With Gratitude is a 52 week guide to cultivate an attitude of gratitude! It is a self exploration journal designed to focus on being thankful for what we have, the big things in life, as well as the simple joys. Each well designed weekly spread contains an inspirational quote, space to write 3 things you are thankful for each day of the week, and a weekly checkpoint. If you start each day by writing down three things you are thankful for – a good cup of coffee, the smell of rain, starting a good book – you begin each day on the right note. Do it daily and make it a habit to focus on the blessings you have been given! Grab a copy for a friend and share the journey together!
“Find happiness and joy with positive thinking. When you find ways to be grateful every day, you experience more joy in life. Author and personal success mentor M. J. Ryan writes, “Gratitude births only positive feelings—love, compassion, joy, and hope. As we focus on what we are thankful for, fear, anger, and bitterness simply melt away, seemingly without effort.” Her book Attitudes of Gratitude teaches you how to reach this positive place. Inside find:
- Essays on a variety of topics that are perfect for gratitude meditation
- Encouragement to begin practicing, commit to, and celebrate gratitude
- A variety of ways to practice gratitude in your own life
Memoir and personal reflections on gratitude practice
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is a sustained meditation on that which goes away—loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it—that tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard. That is, this is a book that studies the wisdom of the garden and orchard, those places where all—death, sorrow, loss—is converted into what might, with patience, nourish us.
Louise L. Hay brings you a very special work that is dear to her heart. In Gratitude, Louise has gathered the insights and collected wisdom of some of the most wonderful teachers and writers she knows…people who have demonstrated the power of gratitude in their own lives. Renowned contributors such as Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Dr. Joan Borysenko, Dan Millman, Harold Bloomfield, M.D., Bernie Siegel, M.D., Shakti Gawain, Dr. Doreen Virtue, and many, many more of her friends…share their understanding of the practice of gratitude with Louise… and with you.
I Want to Thank You: How a Year of Gratitude Can Bring Joy and Meaning in a Disconnected World by Gina Hamadey
We all know that gratitude is good for us–but the real magic comes when we express it. Writer Gina Hamadey learned this life-changing lesson firsthand when a case of burnout and too many hours on social media left her feeling depleted and disconnected. In this engaging book, she chronicles how twelve months spent writing 365 thank-you notes to strangers, neighbors, family members, and friends shifted her perspective. Her journey shows that developing a lasting active gratitude practice can make you a happier person, heal complicated relationships, and reconnect you with the people you love–all with just a little bit of bravery at the mailbox.
The idea was deceptively simple: New York Times bestselling author A.J. Jacobs decided to thank every single person involved in producing his morning cup of coffee. The resulting journey takes him across the globe, transforms his life, and reveals secrets about how gratitude can make us all happier, more generous, and more connected. Author A.J. Jacobs discovers that his coffee—and every other item in our lives—would not be possible without hundreds of people we usually take for granted: farmers, chemists, artists, presidents, truckers, mechanics, biologists, miners, smugglers, and goatherds. By thanking these people face to face, Jacobs finds some much-needed brightness in his life. Gratitude does not come naturally to Jacobs—his disposition is more Larry David than Tom Hanks—but he sets off on the journey on a dare from his son. And by the end, it’s clear to him that scientific research on gratitude is true. Gratitude’s benefits are legion: It improves compassion, heals your body, and helps battle depression.
On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade Editor-in-Chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next months will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have. Relying on both amusing personal experiences and extensive research, Kaplan explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and fitness. She learns how appreciating your spouse changes the neurons of your brain and why saying thanks helps CEOs succeed. Through extensive interviews with experts and lively conversations with real people including celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Jerry Seinfeld, Kaplan discovers the role of gratitude in everything from our sense of fulfillment to our children’s happiness. With warmth, humor, and appealing insight, Janice’s journey will empower readers to think positively and start living their own best year ever.
Who helped you become the person you are today? As Nancy Davis Kho approached a milestone birthday, she decided to answer that question by sending thank-you letters to the many people who had influenced her, helped her, and inspired her over the years: family, friends, mentors, teachers, co-workers, even a couple of former friends and exes. While her recipients always seemed genuinely pleased to read the letters, what Nancy never expected was the profound and positive effect the process would have on her. As it turns out, emerging research proves that actively appreciating the formative people in your life, past and present, can lead to a lasting increase in your happiness levels–and The Thank-you Project offers a charming, entertaining roadmap to see, say and savor your way there.
One recent December, at age 53, John Kralik found his life at a terrible, frightening low: his small law firm was failing; he was struggling through a painful second divorce; he had grown distant from his two older children and was afraid he might lose contact with his young daughter; he was living in a tiny apartment where he froze in the winter and baked in the summer; he was 40 pounds overweight; his girlfriend had just broken up with him; and overall, his dearest life dreams–including hopes of upholding idealistic legal principles and of becoming a judge–seemed to have slipped beyond his reach. Then, during a desperate walk in the hills on New Year’s Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn’t have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had. Inspired by a beautiful, simple note his ex-girlfriend had sent to thank him for his Christmas gift, John imagined that he might find a way to feel grateful by writing thank-you notes. To keep himself going, he set himself a goal–come what may–of writing 365 thank-you notes in the coming year. One by one, day after day, he began to handwrite thank yous–for gifts or kindnesses he’d received from loved ones and coworkers, from past business associates and current foes, from college friends and doctors and store clerks and handymen and neighbors, and anyone, really, absolutely anyone, who’d done him a good turn, however large or small. Immediately after he’d sent his very first notes, significant and surprising benefits began to come John’s way–from financial gain to true friendship, from weight loss to inner peace. While John wrote his notes, the economy collapsed, the bank across the street from his office failed, but thank-you note by thank-you note, John’s whole life turned around. 365 Thank Yous is a rare memoir: its touching, immediately accessible message–and benefits–come to readers from the plainspoken storytelling of an ordinary man. Kralik sets a believable, doable example of how to live a miraculously good life. To read 365 Thank Yous is to be changed.
People from all walks of life join together in this thought-of-the-day collection of essays. This book brims with appreciation without crossing the line to sappy or too “woo-woo.” Instead you will find evidence that harnessing the power of gratitude can be a life-changing force. Inside are stories about the things, people, circumstances, and events the contributors that bring gratitude to everyday life. These “gratitude-in-real-life” stories are about more than the polite “thank yous” we casually exchange every day. They’re testimonials to the people and things we often take for granted. Join us in this growing movement of people from around the world who have committed to asking themselves this simple yet profound question every day of the week–what am I grateful for? Lead editor Donna Kozik is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
Happiness is rooted in gratitude. In this beautiful collection, you’ll find inspiring quotes and thoughts from well-known minds such as Maya Angelou, Confucius, and Anne Frank combined with original reflections and practices to help you recognize the abundance of opportunities for gratitude and joy – all around you, every day. Hand-lettered art makes this a stunning gift to treasure, whether you keep it for yourself or give it to a loved one.
No writer has succeeded in capturing the medical and human drama of illness as honestly and as eloquently as Oliver Sacks. During the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death. “It is the fate of every human being,” Sacks writes, “to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.” Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.
The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness Through Gratitude, Empathy, & Mindfulness by Hugh van Cuylenburg
Hugh van Cuylenburg was a primary school teacher volunteering in northern India when he had a life-changing realisation- despite the underprivileged community the children were from, they were remarkably positive. By contrast, back in Australia Hugh knew that all too many children struggled with depression, social anxieties and mental illness. His own little sister had been ravaged by anorexia nervosa. How was it that young people he knew at home, who had food, shelter, friends and a loving family, struggled with their mental health, while these kids seemed so contented and resilient? He set about finding the answer and in time came to recognise the key traits and behaviours these children possessed were gratitude, empathy and mindfulness. In the ensuing years Hugh threw himself into studying and sharing this revelation with the world through The Resilience Project, with his playful and unorthodox presentations which both entertain and inform. Now, with the same blend of humour, poignancy and clear-eyed insight that The Resilience Project has become renowned for, Hugh explains how we can all get the tools we need to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Our sincere gratitude goes out to YMMS student Joshua for compiling this list. We recognize that not every resource will resonate with everyone. If you have an addition (books, poems, films, etc.) to add to our growing collection of resources, please send an email including the type of media, author, title, description and a link to email@example.com.