Appreciation and Gratitude: Best Ways and Differences

appreciation and gratitude

In the ever-expanding world of personal development, the word "gratitude" and its partner "appreciation" are thrown around like confetti at a wedding. Both seem to have an alluring promise of positivity. Positive emotions, if you will. Here we'll decipher their meanings, compare the two, and give you some tips on how to use them in your life.

An Overview

Appreciation and gratitude are positive emotions acknowledging the goodness in life. Gratitude is awareness and thankfulness for the positive things we receive, like a gift or a kind gesture. It's recognizing that life's blessings come in many forms, whether tangible or intangible.

On the other hand, appreciation delves deeper. It's valuing everything that shapes our experiences, including hard work, support from others, and even challenging situations that spur growth.

While both involve recognition of positive aspects, gratitude is about acknowledging blessings received, and appreciation is about understanding the value of experiences, people, and even life's hardships. They together help us maintain a positive outlook and lead a fulfilling life.

But are they just trendy words with little substance? Have they become the diet coke of mental health: sweet on the tongue but lacking real nourishment? Grab a tall glass of water and let's take a closer look.

An in-depth look

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is like that best friend who reminds you, "Hey, that cup of coffee you just sipped? That was a gift!" Yes, the same one you grumble about being too hot, too cold, or just plain wrong.

Essentially, gratitude is the recognition of good fortune, a realization that good things are happening around us all the time. Whether that's a smile from a stranger or a beautiful day, it's an acknowledgment of the blessings we've received.

From the University of Pennsylvania to the Wharton School, research consistently shows the benefits of gratitude are profound, affecting everything from our mental state to our physical health.

What is Appreciation?

Appreciation, on the other hand, goes a little deeper than surface level. It's not just about the good stuff, it's also about the hard graft. It's saying "great job" to a team member who's put in hard work or acknowledging a family member for their unwavering support during difficult times.

Appreciation is about valuing the people, experiences, and even the negative things that have shaped us. It's the expression of gratitude for the lessons we've learned and the growth we've experienced. You might say it's a different perspective on our experiences.

Gratitude vs Appreciation

In the grand scheme of things, gratitude and appreciation are best friends, not adversaries. But like best friends, they do different things. Gratitude is about acknowledging the good that has been given to us. It's the feeling of thankfulness we have for those blessings.

Appreciation, however, goes deeper. It sees beyond the good experiences to value the sweat, the tears, and even the pain that brought us to where we are today.

But enough of this philosophical banter. How do we turn these high-minded concepts into a way of life? Here are 10 tips to help you become more appreciative and practice gratitude.

10 Tips to Help You Practice Appreciation and Gratitude

1. Express Your Gratitude

Don’t just feel gratitude, express gratitude. You could write a handwritten note, send a text message, or use social media to convey your message. An expression of gratitude goes a long way in creating a positive emotional connection.

2. Share Your Appreciation For People

Make a habit of telling people you're grateful for them. It could be a family member, a true friend, or a colleague. This is not only a powerful way to express your feelings of gratitude, but it also strengthens relationships.

3. Appreciate Yourself Too!

How about that hard work you've put in? Don't be shy to pat yourself on the back. Remember, self-appreciation is crucial for your own well-being.

4. Simply Say Thank You

It sounds simple because it is. A 'Thank You' can be an automatic response, but it's also one of the most potent expressions of gratitude. So, next time someone holds a door open for you, don’t just mumble your thanks, really feel it.

5. See the Small Things

Gratitude doesn’t always have to be for the big wins. The little things, like a warm cup of coffee or a kind word from a stranger, can bring a sense of contentment. In fact, finding joy in the small things is a powerful tool for building an attitude of gratitude.

6. Acknowledge the negative

We often focus only on the positive, but acknowledging the negative can give us a deeper appreciation. It allows us to see our growth and resilience, creating a feeling of gratitude for our journey. As the saying goes...

"The sweet is never as sweet without the sour."

Have you ever seen Vanilla Sky? You should!

7. Use Quotes of Appreciation

Appreciation quotes are a simple way to remind yourself of the importance of gratitude. Stick them on your fridge, your mirror, your cat. Wherever they can catch your eye and inspire feelings of appreciation.

8. Try Gratitude Meditation

Yes, it's a thing! Meditation can enhance emotional intelligence and increase feelings of gratitude and appreciation. It helps you stay in the present moment and cultivates a grateful heart.

9. Keep A Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a great way to train your mind to spot the positive. By writing down the things you're thankful for, you make an important part of your day about recognizing the good. This not only increases your positive emotions but can also enhance your life satisfaction.

10. Create an Appreciation Culture

Whether in the home or workplace, a culture of appreciation promotes positive emotions. Recognition programs, or simply saying “great job” to a team member can go a long way.

This goes for all areas of life. People love to be appreciated, and when that becomes the norm, the word gratitude and others like it are used on a regular basis.


In the grand scheme of personal development, there are few practices as beneficial as fostering gratitude and appreciation. In fact, positive psychology research from the esteemed John Templeton Foundation highlights the positive effects of incorporating a gratitude practice into your daily routine. It can be as simple as expressing a little bit of gratitude to your team members or starting your day with some simple words of appreciation for the good health you enjoy.

Remember, the best way to cultivate an emotion of thankfulness is to make it a regular practice. It’s not about waiting for a special event or the holiday season to express appreciation. Nor does it involve composing eloquent letters of gratitude for university fund-raisers (unless you fancy that sort of thing).

Instead, it's about adopting the best approach of recognizing the positive things around you on a daily basis. Whether it's acknowledging the parent of all others – a higher power, for the believers out there – or expressing gratitude to a card recipient in the United States for their thoughtful gift, there are different ways to practice gratitude.

Something to think about

Even as you hustle through the complexities of today’s world, a little gratitude can go a long way in creating strong relationships. Be it a subtle shift in perspective or just good old good manners, an attitude of gratitude can have profound effects on your mental and physical well-being.

To sum it up in the words of appreciation from the Bible verses, "Give thanks in all circumstances." So, when was the last time you expressed your gratitude? Maybe the first thing tomorrow, you could start a gratitude journal or send a message of gratitude to a loved one. After all, we can all use a little more gratitude in our lives.

So, there you have it – a crash course into the beautiful concepts of gratitude. Remember, just like working out, the practice of gratitude requires consistency. So start with a subtle shift, express gratitude and appreciation in your own unique way, and see how this good practice transforms your life in the following week and beyond.


Comments are closed.