Attitude of Gratitude versus Appreciation

What is Attitude of Gratitude?

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” — Melodie Beatty

Many personal development practitioners tell us that gratitude is the best feeling to cultivate because it helps keep our vibrations positive and uplifted. So it is that when we adopt an attitude of gratitude, we are mindful about being thankful. We constantly express our gratitude for the blessings we are enjoying.

Admittedly if we are conditioned by past habits or find ourselves hijacked by our busy lifestyles, we may find it difficult to remember to express our thanks on a regular basis. We fall back into our old patterns of complaints, frustrations, and anger about how life sucks and is not treating us well.

We may well express our prayers of gratitude on rare or special occasions such as Thanksgiving Day. However, if we are hoping to attract a new reality, then it is obvious that saying thanks once or twice a year is hardly enough! Throughout the year, we will need to keep our engine of positive energy running. We need to keep our “energy engine” oiled with a constant supply of good vibes. Choosing to adopt an attitude of gratitude/appreciation is an excellent solution!

Wait a Minute: Gratitude versus Appreciation?

Wait a minute! If you have been reading my article closely enough, you will realize that I am alluding to a possible difference between the feeling of “gratitude” and the feeling of “appreciation”.

Admittedly, I first wrote this article using the two words interchangeably. Then, as I was at it half-way, I came into an achy feeling that something did not quite click. You may know what I mean. A torturous pain that gnaws on you, refusing to go away until you get to the root of your thoughts and feelings?

I recalled that I had watched a video sometime ago about the difference between the two. I managed to find it….

In short, Abraham Hicks explains that love and Appreciation carries the same energetic vibration. These feelings help to bring us into alignment with who we truly are. It is the absence of fear and resistance. Gratitude, on the other hand, carries the signature of past struggles that we have overcome. Abraham points out the difference between Gratitude and Appreciation is similar to the difference between motivation (makes you go somewhere) and inspiration (you are being called to who you are).

Hmmm….here is a confession: while I have always quietly preferred the use of the word “appreciation”, I admit to being swayed into using the catchphrase “attitude of gratitude” more often recently. To begin with, the phrase rolls off my tongue more easily because it rhymes better. No excuses but my subconscious must have been impressed upon from encountering the word “gratitude” more often than “appreciation” over several sites. So much so that just last week, I decided to make Gratitude a power word for me this year.

Well, I decided to sit quietly to examine my resonance with these words a while ago. I finally arrived at some thoughts.

Gratitude has more intensity compared to Appreciation. It carries with it a “push” energy as if I am compelled to express my thanks. It is as if I “should” feel it. It also captures the sensation of having experienced a favorable outcome beyond expectations. There is also someone or something that I am feeling grateful towards.

On the other hand, Appreciation is a feeling that naturally springs from within. When I am in appreciation, I have a regard for the object or person and I bring it into my presence. It is like how the Na’vi in the Avatar movie greet each other with “I see you” and truly mean it. So, Appreciation is about bringing whatever it is that I am thankful for into conscious knowing.

What is in A Word?

I did a check. According to the dictionary, the definitions of the two words are…

# (a) The state of being grateful; warm and friendly feeling toward a benefactor; kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness.

# A just valuation or estimate of merit, worth, weight, etc.; recognition of excellence.
# (n.) A rise in value; — opposed to depreciation.
# (n.) Accurate perception; true estimation; as, an appreciation of the difficulties before us; an appreciation of colors.

Then again, I also recognize that words by themselves can never fully encapsulate what we truly feel. What counts is the essence of our feelings and how powerfully we feel it. What is important is the conscious choice that we make when we feel negative.

My preferred choice, if I may add, is to direct my thoughts in better-feeling directions. Needless to say, the more I direct my thoughts positively and feel genuinely thankful, I find that the more I get to experience improved results.

The following are some tips to help you – and myself – shift into a paradigm of positivity through feeling thankful continuously. The words “gratitude” and “appreciation” are used interchangeably….unless otherwise specified…

7 Tips to Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude (or Appreciation)

1. Practice Gratitude Now. Indeed a sense of appreciation for the here and now is important. You may be led to believe that you can be happy only if some future event occurs. For instance, you will only feel good if you make lots of money, get a job promotion or become successful in our business. However, such beliefs keep you resonating in worry and lack. And since the Law of Attraction responds to your vibration, you will find that you are unable to manifest a new reality for yourself. You continue to attract the same life situations.

The secret therefore is to being thankful now. When we focus on the present rather than the past or the future, we realize that we are already currently enjoying many blessings. Our minds are not cluttered with misery over our past or worry over a future that is meant to salvage us from our dissatisfaction.

2. Connect With Your Feelings. It is important to FEEL grateful/appreciative. Your vibration goes up when you are experiencing a loving and positive emotion. It goes down when you are experiencing anger, jealousy, displeasure or worry. When you experience negative emotions, you are mis-aligned to who you truly are. Since the Universe responds to the vibration of your being, you will attract what you are largely feeling – whether positive or negative.

3. Be Authentic to Your Feelings. Gratitude and appreciation are feelings that expand you and should not put you in resistance. So if you express gratitude verbally even though you do not feel the same from within, you will need to stop lying to yourself. Perhaps in this case, a sense of appreciation versus gratitude helps in a greater alignment?

Even though you face challenging circumstances, there can be always something to be thankful for. I know it appears hard to feel thankful especially if the situation looks bleak! It is far easier to feel as if you are a victim of circumstances.

However, just think about it. There is no other way if you have a strong desire to change your reality. To experience a turnaround, you need to start feeling positive! You need to look at life as half-full instead of half-empty! The trick is to acknowledge what you feel, reframe your mind and bring yourself gradually into alignment. One thing to realize is that some of our best life learnings emerge from our most difficult time.

4. Every Thing Counts! It does not have to be something big for you to express your gratitude. Feel thankful as you sip your cup of coffee, take a walk or do your laundry. Say thanks for all the things that you take for granted. For instance, your family, home, electricity, water, pets, your friends, etc.) Give hugs, notes, a kind word. Thank your enemies for highlighting areas that you feel averse towards, and thus providing you with the opportunity to work on yourself. Once you start to notice beauty even in the littlest of things, you will find your life changing!

5. Make It Part of Your Daily Routine. The more we conjure a sense of thankfulness, the more the Universe will respond positively. Hence, not just for special moments, it will be good if we can make the expression of gratitude as part of our daily routine. Sense it, feel it and wear it!

Consider expressing your affirmation a morning or evening ritual, so that you do not forget. Incorporate it as part of your meditation session. Alternatively, consider expressing gratitude at mealtimes.

Other than just saying it aloud, it is a good idea to write down things that you are happy about. Keep a Gratitude Journal (featured in photo at the top of this post)!

6. Gratitude Rocks. I first learned about “gratitude rocks” from watching the movie The Secret. In the movie, Lee Brower shared about how the practice of carrying a gratitude rock assisted him in cultivating an attitude of gratitude. He began to sell his rocks and helped to spread positive vibrations around the world.

In the same manner, we can also choose to have little reminders – whether a rock, crystal or a photo of our gratitude board (see point 7 as well). The reminders help us in instilling a habit of expressing our sense of appreciation.

7. Make a Gratitude Vision Board or Photo Journal. To express your appreciation, you can make a vision board or a photo journal. Put together pictures of things that you are grateful or appreciative about. The advantage of making a gratitude vision board is that you can keep a mini photo copy of it in your wallet or bag and carry it around.

Let’s Hear it from You!

1. Since we still need to use words to communicate, I like to know your thoughts. For the practice of feeling thankful, which emotion resonates better with you: “Gratitude” or “Appreciation”? Is there a difference to you when you say “I appreciate what you’ve done for me” as compared to “I am grateful what you have done for me”? Or “I appreciate the beauty around” as compared to “I am grateful for the beauty around”? Is the nuance important to you?

2. What other tips do you have and can share about expressing thanks on a regular basis?

Abundance always,

Facebook Comments


jenn - January 28, 2010

Love this post! I just pulled my gratitude book out again thanks to you! I haven’t written in it since November. 🙂 It makes me happy to read through it and I realize how blessed I really am!!!!

love ya and thanks!

Evelyn Reply:

Good for you, Jenn! It’s nice that you pull out your gratitude book again!

Love and Blessings,

Lance - January 28, 2010

Hi Evelyn,
Well, I’ll look at this two ways. For me, when I’m personally using these words, the word “gratitude” just feels like it connects more deeply with me. That doesn’t mean I don’t use them both – because I do. And I probably use them interchangably. Still, as I think about it tonight, “gratitude” feels more connecting to my soul. When I hear other people use these words, the nuance is not important to me. What is important, is the sincerity with which these words are shared. And I believe that comes from having a deep belief that these words are the right thing to say. And I do believe very much that this all comes from being grateful in our daily lives, and in especially the smaller moments within our daily lives.

Evelyn Reply:

Indeed, sincerity is very important! Thumbs up to the tip on honoring the small moments in our lives!

Abundance always,

Albert Agaru - January 28, 2010

Hi Evelyn,
When using these two words, it really gives me some sense that they indeed very useful in everyday of our lives.

Love you always!


Evelyn Reply:

They most certainly are, Albert 🙂

Abundance always,

Jay - January 28, 2010

I tend to look at the difference in this context… Gratitude is for something that I personally received or is done for me personally…
Appreciation is something that everyone can enjoy..

I am grateful for the flowers you gave me… = gratitude
I appreciate the nice weather we’re having… = appreciation

Evelyn Reply:

Hmmm….you made a good point!

Thanks for sharing,

Sile - January 28, 2010

Hi Evelyn,

Thank you for another inspiring post. I do think that gratitude is the highest vibration you can tune into and it comes charged with appreciation of all things and sentient beings in your life. Gratitude (without struggle) for everything you have, including struggles which may be gifts in disguise. Being in gratitude is being in bliss.

Once I started a gratitude journal everything started to change for me. I used to have debilitating migraines. With a gratitude journal, it changed my focus and attention to look for the good in my life and the more I looked, the more I found to be grateful and the less space there was for migraines (interchange migraines with anything negative).

Regards from Rome!


Evelyn Reply:

Hi Sile,

I love it when you said that “the more I looked, the more I found to be grateful and the less space there was for migraines”!

Rome? Oh gosh! You reminded me of my travels to your lovely city and the wonderful Italian meals I was tucking into. I would love to return some day 🙂

With love from Singapore,

Marelisa - January 28, 2010

Hi Evelyn: To me the word “appreciation” seems to imply that someone did something for you, so it’s more of a response to someone else’s actions. “Gratitude”, on the other hand, depends on where you place your awareness. If you place your awareness on all the good that there is in your life, then the natural response is a feeling of gratitude. That is, nothing has to happen for you to feel grateful, you just have to shift your attention to the blessings that already exist in your life. That’s how I see it. 🙂

Evelyn Reply:

Oh wow! We appear to hold opposite perspectives from each other with the use of the two words? Interesting sharing about where I place my awareness. Thanks!

With love,

Mindfulmimi - January 28, 2010

Hi Evelyn,
I totally agree with Lance. I also find that gratitude is a more ‘active’ and positive word. You actively am grateful for things, I do think grateful thoughts and write down things I’m grateful for every evening. I find appreciation to be a bit more passive. Like the difference in ‘i AM grateful’ but ‘I appreciate’. Appreciate is often used (especially in business) in a hypocritcal way to say things like ‘I appreciate what you did, but…’. To me when you say ‘I am grateful for what you did’ the sentence usually stops there and there hardly ever is a but. So grateful sounds more honest to me.
The way I tend to tune into gratitude and appreciation is that no matter what happens to me (and especially when something negative happens) I ask myself ‘what is this teaching me?’. And I always find something positive to it, something to be grateful for.
Thanks for triggering these thoughts.

Evelyn Reply:

Indeed, gratitude has a stronger intensity to it! Thanks for sharing your perspective about the word “appreciation”. I don’t get any negative vibes from it and what you’ve shared is certainly interesting!

Thumbs up to looking at challenges and life situations positively!

Abundance always,

Alex Blackwell - January 28, 2010

I don’t have Gratitude Rocks, but I do wear a wristband that reminds me to be grateful for every moment. This band really helps me to focus on gratitude more often.

Evelyn Reply:

Great one there on the gratitude wristband!

With love,

Hilary - January 28, 2010

Hi Evelyn .. I guess I’d like to add that we need to look at the two words from the point of view of both parties .. ie my mother is always thankful for my visits and expresses it so strongly .. ie I feel so appreciative that she is so grateful for the fact I’m there for her.

Gratitude – I was in the bank and the cashier said she was sorry about my mother et al, and I said I was grateful for what I had and that we were not in a worse situation .. but I thanked (appreciated) her for her thoughts .. so many people have much worse ‘normal’ situations that we just don’t realise or think about a great deal of the time.

Be positive, be grateful, be thankful for all we have ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Evelyn Reply:

Hmm…..from the use of your two words, it would also seem that gratitude connotes more intense feelings?

It’s great that your mother loves it when you visit her! And that you are grateful for being so blessed!

With love,

Nadia - Happy Lotus - January 28, 2010

Hi Evelyn,

Personally, I prefer to use gratitude since that feels more profound. That said, I also have used the word “appreciation” when thanking someone for something that they said or did on my behalf. So I guess it depends on the situation.

The more I think about it, I do think gratitude seems more profound when we reflect on the blessings that we have since those blessings come from a Source outside of ourselves.

The best lesson I ever got on being grateful for everything was as a result of taking care of my mother when she had terminal cancer. The mere act of going to the bathroom was an ordeal as was eating and so many other things that I never really considered before she was ill.

The mere fact a person can get up in the morning and take care of themselves without the physical help of another person is a HUGE gift that we should not take for granted.

So amen for an attitude of gratitude! 🙂

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Nadia,

I do get that when I use Gratitude, I seem to be thanking an external source. But when I use Appreciation, it is like it is my birthright. So I am grateful for someone for having taken care of me, but I appreciate the serenity of my home this morning. Still, I acknowledge that if I view it from another perspective, I can easily feel grateful to the Universe/God for blessing me with peace in my home right now.

With love, amens and thanks,

Katie West/The Levity Coach - January 29, 2010

Hi Evelyn!
This post made me think and think all morning and am only commenting after many hours.
gratitude resonates with me more because its eytmological root is grace. And Grace is divinity to me. So Appreciation feels like the emotion and gratitude for me is the spirit. I feel grateful therefore I act appreciative.
I like what Abraham is saying and will definitely use it as a mindfulness tool as I express my gratitude- to make sure its energy is in the her and now…but I think there is a bit of an issue of semantics. (I mean they are doing the best they can for non physical beings—ha ha ha ha, ahem anyway)
gratitude for me is a wellspring rising up through me influencing each action. And I also draw a correlation between gratitude and celebration-they are on the same continuum for me…Celebration is a grander and external expression of how to share our gratitude or appreciation with others.
GREAT POST and love the affirmation mart!

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Katie,

LOL….I am glad to know that you worked it all out for yourself!! I hope I didn’t cause you any headache! While it may just appear to be word semantics, I am sure that you have gotten a closer and more accurate sensing of what you feel through your exercise. You investigate into the sensations of your inner world. You also become aware of any slight instances whereby you may feel resistances and work through them.

With love,

Sara - January 29, 2010

Evelyn — Wow…this post has a lot of meaning for me. I just found an old journal I started as a daily gratitude journal. For whatever reason, I stopped updating it, but when I read over my old entries, it made me feel really good inside.

While I plan to restart the journal, I also am aware that I don’t express my gratefulness enough to people around me and that’s what I think finding that journal was about….like this post…it reminds me that expressing gratitude is a win-win feeling. Thanks for this:~)

Evelyn Reply:

I’m glad that my post reminded you about your gratitude journal and to continue expressing your thanks!!

All the best,

Vinay - January 29, 2010

Meaningful post!
I feel true appreciation is a physical sincere feeling which comes out in the form of good words and gratitude is a feeling which comes from within which has emotion and energy.
What you say – think about it

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Vinay,

Gratitude does convey more emotion and therefore, energy! I wonder if it is a personality thing with me as well. I tend to like the gentle (but firm) rhythms of an appreciative rather than a more powerful gratitude feeling.

With love,

Farouk - January 29, 2010

you just mentioned something really important, a busy life style can’t only prevent you from being thankful but it can kill creativity too

Evelyn Reply:

You are right! A busy lifestyle does not allow for space….and we need space for creativity to arise.

With love,

Daphne @ Joyful Days - January 29, 2010


I never thought much about the difference between the two words. Thanks for pointing it out! I’m the opposite of you and always preferred “gratitude” and kept a gratitude journal for many months. Gratitude is powerful!

Evelyn Reply:

The difference can be subtle. While I can choose to ignore the subtlety, I find that understanding what I really feel deep down inside is helpful for my inner work. I become more aware if I am experiencing any slight resistances and if so, I take the opportunity to investigate why and to release them. So if I am feeling grateful or appreciative, it is just sincere, pure and warm (no “shoulds” or “buts” at the end).

With love,

Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice - January 29, 2010

Hey Evelyn,

From reading the comments I was in alignment with Lance and Marelisa. I always felt that gratitude has a more innate feeling whereas appreciation has more of an external connotation to me. They however, are only words and the truth we all know what we’re talking about when we talk about gratitude and appreciation.

Thank you for sharing the Vid Evelyn, it’s always just feels good watching Abraham at work!


Evelyn Reply:

It seems like more people prefer the use of the word “gratitude”. We seem to hold different meanings to both words. I’m glad that you enjoyed Abraham at work! It is also nice that we hear it from his perspective!

With love,

Chris Edgar - January 30, 2010

Hi Evelyn — I like how you point out that gratitude is a feeling — it’s really a name we give to a sensation — and that if we let go about all our concepts about what should be better, or even what we should feel grateful for, I think it tends to naturally arise.

Evelyn Reply:

Hmmm….good point about letting feelings naturally arise…rather than putting too much thought into the process!!

With love,

Hulbert - January 31, 2010

Hi Evelyn, thanks for this awesome article!

I see gratitude as more of being thankful for what we already have. I see appreciation as seeing the beauty in what we already have. It’s going a little bit further, like appreciating a work of art, compared to being grateful for a work of art.

Similar to motivation and inspiration. If we have to motivate ourselves, usually we are not in a state of positivity. We can feel inspired even if we’re in a state of complete positivity. I think inspiration goes a bit beyond and you and Esther touched a bit upon that matter.

I also wrote a blog article on intuition and instinct. Intuition just goes a bit more beyond instinct. Instinct is more of a reaction such as in animals and intuition can be reaction gathered from deeper knowledge, experience, and wisdom. There are words that are more powerful than others, but on a basic level, it’s just context. They don’t mean anything unless a person associates feelings to them.

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Hulbert,

Thanks for visiting my site and sharing your thoughts. Indeed, there can be a subtle difference to words like gratitude and appreciation, or instinct and intuition. Although we try to be as accurate as we can in the choice of words, what counts at the end is the essence of what we feel.

Abundance always,

Evita - January 31, 2010

Hi Evelyn

I have to tell you, ever since I found out about the “attitude of gratitude”, it just resonated with me so well. It went viral in my life and all of a sudden I found myself being thankful for the oddest of things, in the oddest of places.

For me, I look at it this way; loving God is living in Gratitude. So many in the world worship God, etc, in various ways, through rituals, sacrifices, statues, etc… over these last few years I realized that for me, being grateful for all that is, really acknowledging it and seeing the beauty in all is the best way I can know and love God – the greater power that is

As for whether I use the word appreciation. Yes, I do. I find I use it when I appreciate how something was done, or how it is, etc. And sometimes it is possible to appreciate and be grateful at the same time.

Thank you for this beautiful article and so much valuable tips in it too!

Jeremy - February 1, 2010

For awhile I have been meaning to find something similar to the “gratitude rocks” in the secret until I realized that the hemp necklace I wear is wrapped around a rock. Now, taking the necklace off before I go to sleep every night, it’s been much easier to routinely go through what I am grateful for and appreciate in life.

I’ve also found that by doing this exercise, that little things that I can and am grateful for can have the biggest impact. It’s easy to be grateful for more apparent, “larger” things, but taking the time to notice the little things truly helps in realizing the beauty of beauty and love of the universe!

Peace & love.

vegas prof organizer - March 22, 2010

Hi Evelyn

I love your post! I also love abraham! i was writing a gratiutde journal myself, & when i heard what ester/abraham said about the 2 words, i decided to write 8 things i am aprreciative of every nite before sleep.

Abraham is always talking about thoughts and feelings, feel & think about what you want as if you already have it. The universe always chooses the thoughts and feelings that are thought and felt over and over (beliefs), whether theyre from the past, present or future. I feel that ‘gratitude’ is past tense and has a heavier feeling, and ‘appreciate’ is more present tense & seems to feel lighter. The words are definately interchangeable, using one over the other to convey a past or present feeling (lets say), depends on the words you use after either word, the individual using them, their mood and the situation.

im so grateful for….
i really appreciate…

Either way, theyre both positive and thats a better place to be!

Appreciation (A-Z Happiness Guide) | Effective Family Communication - April 12, 2010

[…] my work with recovering addicts we frequently speak about developing an “attitude of gratitude.”  It is gratitude, (i.e. appreciation) which is like sunshine on a cloudy day.  If recovering […]

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