On Appreciation and Gratitude

Appreciation: 

Recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something:

‘I smiled in appreciation’ 

Gratitude: 

The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness:

‘she expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support’

Over the years, on and off, I’ve tried to keep a gratitude journal (in various forms). It isn’t something I have kept up long term, but when I do make the effort to take time out to record the things that make me grateful, it does help. Carving out that time to mentally give thanks seems like a small thing, but the effects can be felt. If you can, try making a list each day of 3 things you’re grateful for that day (it can be big or small), and see if you notice a difference in your mood.

My outlook on life is generally positive – apart from when I’m hangry (hungry/angry), am ill, or just feeling particularly human that day – and the littlest of things can make me smile. I’ve always liked that about myself, the fact that I can see the joy in things that may seem trivial to others. When I am with those I love, I can be incredibly goofy and childlike – but there is also the flip-side to that. I feel like I have a young heart and an old soul. For some people I’ve seen it catch them off guard when I jump from a light emotion to a deep emotion…and then right back to a lighter state again.

Appreciation, to me, means to take pleasure in the most simplest of things each and every day. It means smiling, without restraint. It means being your authentic self and responding to the world around you without holding back. Appreciation is to enjoy the little beauties that life has to offer. Showing appreciation is possibly one of my most favourite things to do. It can be such a simple thing, and it certainly leads to a happier life.

Gratitude is a way to give thanks for all the things you appreciate. It is perhaps a step further. Giving gratitude doesn’t mean you have to write it down, there are different ways of doing it, just find whichever way works for you. Lately, I’ve found that recording some of the things I’m grateful for in the captions of my Instagram photographs works for me. I read a lovely article about gratitude the other day, and it offers a different method – give it a read and see what you think.

Perhaps the difference between appreciation and gratitude is this: appreciation is how you’re positively responding to the world, whereas gratitude is an act of thanks, often for yourself, but it can be shared with others.

In a world that can sometimes be noisy and confusing, taking the time to put a little bit of thanks (and happiness) out there can really help to add a positive voice to the collective narrative.

…and with that, I’m off to write some things I’m grateful for today.

How do you define appreciation and gratitude? Do you keep a gratitude journal? Or another method of recording your gratitude?

Happy Thursday, lots of love.

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