100 things to be grateful for

Takeaway: Research shows that recalling what you’re grateful for trains your brain over time to become happier—and that happier people are more productive. Here are 100 things to be grateful for, submitted by readers like yourself!

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes, 46s, but the list is pretty skimmable!

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Last Monday, I asked newsletter subscribers what five things they were the most grateful for that day. (I bribed them with a chance to win a copy of The Happiness Equation.) The response to the newsletter blew me away—within hours, I had well over 1,000 things to be grateful for in my inbox.

Because my inbox was a goldmine of gratitude, I couldn’t resist putting this article together. I’ve pored over the responses, and have picked the 100 best things I could find. Every one of these was submitted by a reader—I didn’t add any into the mix! All of the quotes are also from readers, who graciously gave me permission to publish them.

The research around gratitude is fascinating—and suggests that gratitude is essentially a gateway drug to happiness. Recalling a few things you’re grateful for each day has been shown to train your brain to think more positive. And happier people are 31% more productive than everyone else.

When you look around, there is so much we have to be grateful for. Here are 100 of those things. If you’re like me, you won’t have everything on this list—but you’ll sure have a lot of them!

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Above is a word cloud that I built from all of the gratitudes you submitted. Just click on it to download a big version. There’s another one below!

Work Stuff

1. Coffee! And tea. And “tassimo lattes.” And “chai tea with almond milk.” And “tea with honey.” And “Hazelnut coffee, just because.”

2. Email! “Being able to instantly communicate with people (strangers even!) virtually anywhere in the world is pretty incredible!” (Only one person sent this one in, for some reason…)

3. “Emails with problems that can be resolved in one sentence.”

4. All of the times you got something done you were procrastinating on.

5. “Having free, open access to knowledge to improve your life.”

6. A daily routine you love, that “gives you energy, pleasure, and the feeling that you use your time for the things that are important to you.”

7. Awesome habits you have already, that “let you level up to have a more productive day, automatically.”

8. Having a job that’s tough, but that pays the bills!

9. The big, badass career decisions you’ve made, like “when I decided to do a PhD.”

10. Having “access to higher education,” “despite how much it may cost!”

11. Pay day!

12. To work in a career that “has meaning to others.”

13. To have a job where “your brain is used.”

14. The ability to work from home—”especially when wearing pajamas, like I am right now.”

15. Books, audiobooks, and blog posts that “push you to think in new ways.”

16. The weekend—”especially when you can disconnect over it to clear your head!”

17. The motivation to tackle big work goals (and personal goals, too.)

18. A job with a view! Like one reader who works for Missouri’s Botanical garden! (She sent all of the pictures of nature in this article! Being from Ottawa, I’m insanely jealous.)

19. Having a friend at work (which is surprisingly great for your productivity).

20. The Arrange button in Powerpoint, that “saves so much time nudging and aligning text boxes.”

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Health

21. Your good health. (Apart from people, this was by far the most popular gratitude I received!)

22. Living in a safe and happy country or city (a few places around the world that I received: Montreal, Canada; Ottawa, Canada (x2); Valencia, Spain; Venice, Italy (x2); Canada; the U.S. (“despite the political craziness”); Italy; and Japan!)

23. Anxiety—”for letting you know when something needs to change in your life.”

24. Stillness—”even when you only feel it once in a while.”

25. Having time to rest, like by having “an actively inactive weekend.”

26. Your strong values. (One reader: “Though my dad is gone now, the lessons he taught me live on: read voraciously, be curious, march to the beat of your own drum, get your hands dirty.)

27. A healthy family, or at the very least, one that’s “healthy enough!”

28. The chance to become healthier, through diet, exercise, and healthy routines.

29. Having the time, ability, and freedom to learn and try new things.

30. Having a “roof over your head.”

31. Clean drinking water.

32. Taking a warm, clean shower every day.

33. Electricity!

34. The smell and feeling of clean sheets.

35. Your eyesight, and the ability to read articles like this one!

36. Access to good healthcare.

37. Access to healthy food.

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People

38. To be alive! (If you’re reading this list, chances are you are.)

39. That you’re your own best friend. (One reader: “now that I’m in my forties, it took me a long time to be nice to me!”)

40. The time to sit down with your family to eat—and that “you have a family, food, and time for each other in the first place.”

41. Having a loving girlfriend, boyfriend, fiancé, wife, or husband; one who is “supportive,” “nurturing,” “that you make a good team with,” and “that multiplies the joy in your life.”

42. Loving friends, who have supported you when you’ve needed them.

43. An awesome roommate (or the great roommates you’ve had in the past).

44. A sibling, especially one “who listens to your problems.”

45. Having people in your life who continually push you to become better.

46. Having a friend who’s an incredible cook! (These are my favorite kind of friends.)

47. Parents, who are loving and supportive, “even when they don’t like your blue hair.”

48. Tinder, “for letting me meet new and interesting people!”

49. Skype, for “how it lets me stay closely connected with family and friends no matter how much distance is between us.”

50. Having a life that’s relatively free of drama!

51. Your favorite teachers, and the support they’ve given you.

52. People in your life who “you have the opportunity to love in return.”

53. Memories, of times with family members and loved ones, whether they’re still around or not.

54. The imagination of kids in your life. (Kids are my favorite people to hang out with, for this reason.)

55. Good things happening to the people you love—like your “daughter’s opportunity to have a week-long winter sports week at her school” or your “son telling you last night how much our last Christmas present improved his life.”

56. Your cool and complex family heritage.

57. Trips with loved ones—ones in the past, or ones coming up!

58. Small, everyday things you do with loved ones, like “going for a beer with my sister tomorrow,” or “getting groceries with my husband tonight.”

59. A supportive church. One reader: “As an Episcopal priest, I’ve served several different types of churches, but where I’m at now is a great church with so many sweet, motivated people.”

60. The freedom to be yourself! One reader: “Until recently, I’ve always had to play by other people’s expectations. Now, I’m finding much more freedom to play by my expectations for myself.”

61. Netflix. (“For obvious reasons.”)

62. Cats! (“For being the best cuddle buddies anyone ever needs.”)

63. Dogs! (For their “boundless love.” And “who gently lean against me and remind me that I’m never alone.” And “who are always so happy to see you come home.”) And the “adorable face of my Ellie sitting next to me [below].”

Ellie

The World

64. “Misty, rainy days.” A few other comments about rain: “I love a good rainy day in the office.” The “subtle smell of warm rain outside,” which, a third reader living in southern Africa mentioned, will “hopefully relieve some of the severe drought we’re having.”

65. “Perfect, crisp, sunny spring weather.” Or, at the very least, that “spring is coming soon.” Or “warm spring mornings with chipper peepers that make it a little less aggravating to get out of bed.” Or the “sun outside in the beautiful city of Venice I am living in.” Or “a beautiful sunny day in Bangalore.”

66. Sunrises, sunsets, and sunshine.

67. “Overcast days that help you slow down and feel conscientious.”

68. Technology, for “making life that much more convenient,” “making it possible to spread knowledge that I can consume,” for “helping me connect with friends around the world,” and “for bringing me access to nearly everything everywhere in the palm of my hand.”

69. The internet! (And “be alive in the dawn of the internet age!”)

70. All of the people who offer to take a picture of you when you’re on vacation.

71. “That there are people in the world who care! About the earth, animals, and human rights (of all kinds)! I love these people.”

72. Clubs you’re a part of—like “your running group,” and “the different societies at your University.”

73. Music—”to relax,” but that’s also “the fabric of your heart, breath, and soul.”

74. That each day and week, at least in some small way, is a new beginning.

75. “The beauty of nature,” that exists whether you’re in it or not.

Japanese Garden Wisteria

Everything Else!

76. Your imagination, that “takes you to places you’ve never been before.”

77. All your life experiences so far—good and bad!

78. Upcoming meals, like “an awesome homemade roast beef sandwich waiting for me to eat at lunch.” Mmmmmmm.

79. That Spiderman exists! “We had a birthday party for my 5 year old this weekend and Spiderman showed up. He was a rockstar!”

80. Owning a car. One reader: “I live in a country where public transport isn’t accessible to everyone [South Africa]. I have one and it connects me to people, places and experiences!”

81. Having no car problems! Or that you own a car in the first place! One reader: “There is nothing like the freedom of a clean car, full gas tank, windows down, music or book-on-tape playing and just driving—that’s my kind of happy.”

82. Opposites! (Since “one must exist in order to comprehend the other.”)

83. That your favorite author wrote your favorite book (in one reader’s case, “that Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon!”)

84. The heart emoji ❤️! (That lets one reader “convey my love to my family, who live very far away.”)

85. The future—for the opportunities it holds, both for you and the people you love.

86. Birthdays! Ones you’ve had, and ones coming up!

87. Cookies!

88. Daffodils!

89. Bananas!

90. Warm socks!

91. Pie! (I sent the newsletter out on Pi Day, and got five of these submissions.)

92. Having “the ability to make a mean grilled cheese sandwich.”

93. Small gaps that give you the chance to slow down—like “having the time to enjoy my tea in the morning.”

94. That “Canada’s new Prime Minister is so handsome“.

95. Laughter! “Especially in hard times.”

96. Nutella.

97. Cows! (One reader: “I’m just generally happy about these animals.”)

98. Having an extra hour of daylight because of Daylight Savings Time.

99. To be “blessed in so many big and small ways, as to be able to take all of the above for granted on a regular basis.”

100. Gratefulness. As one reader put it: “I’m grateful for your invitation to list 5 things—I actually didn’t think about all this before you asked. But now that I have, the feeling is very, very good.”

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