Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 23, 2020

11 Gratitude Books To Remind You To Be Thankful Daily

11 Gratitude Books To Remind You To Be Thankful Daily

In our continuous pursuit of happiness, one thing that people emphasize time and again is a feeling of gratitude. These days, the science behind gratitude and the general public are starting to get the idea that gratitude for things in life is actually a good thing. With life going by so fast, taking some time to slow down and express some gratitude is always nice.

In light of all this, I’ve gone out to look for some of the best books revolving around gratitude. These books do more than show us the benefits of gratitude. In fact, these books are able to help us bring a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and wellbeing to ourselves too.

Before diving into the list, here is the sort of criteria I looked for in books about gratitude. Considering how sizable the self-improvement industry is, you can use these criteria to determine other books beyond this list:

  • Easy to apply lifestyle – Expressing gratitude is not a difficult process, however, the benefits and day to day transformations can be hard to spot for those looking to get into it. The books we are suggesting today go to great lengths to outline the benefits and what you may experience when practicing gratitude on a regular basis.
  • Science-based – With the extensive amount of research done around gratitude at this point, many authors should be taking the time to do research.
  • Insightful – Gratitude is more than a feeling. It’s also a mindset shift. Not only will this make you a more thankful individual, but it should also give you more insight on yourself as you make changes to yourself every day.

1. Words of Gratitude

    Written by Robert Emmons, he is one of the most influential professionals in gratitude research with several books and articles published on this topic. This book is written in sweet spots of many people, between academic areas and intimate ones as well.

    If you’re looking for a book that has ample research but also explains itself in simple language, give this book a read.

    Buy Words of Gratitude here.

    2. The Psychology of Gratitude

      Another book that Robert Emmons worked on is The Psychology of Gratitude. He and Michael McCullough assembled this book for those looking to delve further into the theories, philosophies, and evidence surrounding gratitude overall.

      This book pulls various perspectives and fields. It provides such an in-depth look into gratitude that many describe this as a necessary book if you’re ever planning to get into positive psychology. That said, you don’t need to have a background in it to understand this book.

      Buy The Psychology of Gratitude here.

      Advertising

      3. Thanks!

        The last Emmons book I’ll talk about in this post is Thanks!. This calls back to the Words of Gratitude book he wrote where there is a bit of gratitude research while also giving different perspectives.

        This book pulls from psychology, religion and anthropology before offering a call to action to cultivate gratitude in your life. The angle this book is taking is more along the lines of understanding how gratitude can create a life-changing addition to your life as well as tactics to use it in your life.

        Buy Thanks! here.

        4. A Simple Act of Gratitude

          Written by John Kralik, this memoir provides a personal look into gratitude and how it can change someone’s life. In this memoir, John Kralik talks about an all-time low point in his life to make it into a happy and flourishing life.

          How he went about it was through the simple act of writing down thank-you notes to himself. After doing enough of those he had an epiphany:

          “My life would become more manageable if I spent all my energy and focus on what I do have in my life rather than what I don’t have.”

          That epiphany sent him on a journey where he devoted an entire year to writing 365 thank-you notes, once per day. Every time he did that he noticed profound changes in himself and wrote all about them in this book.

          If you’re looking for a simple book to see gratitude in action, this is a great pick.

          Buy A Simple Act of Gratitude here.

          Advertising

          5. The Gratitude Diaries

            A New York Times bestselling book has a mixture of the books discussed so far. The core focus of this book is revolving around one woman’s efforts to stick to her New Year’s resolution of being more grateful and optimistic – similar to John Kralik.

            At the same time, the book delves into plenty of academic research and backs up findings with evidence-based findings like the Robert Emmons books.

            This approach Janice Kaplan takes is nice as you’re getting the best of both worlds. All wrapped up in a book that you can casually read thanks to the informal and accessible tonne.

            Buy The Gratitude Diaries here.

            6. One Thousand Gifts

              Many great gratitude books stem from personal exploration as these help us to better understand gratitude. Ann Voskamp’s book – One Thousand Gifts – is no different as she shares her personal transformation around her new habit of writing down specifics of what she is thankful for. In the book, she refers to these as “gifts”.

              She argues that jotting these down on a regular basis will allow us to notice the smaller details in our lives. Based on her own transformation, it’s hard to argue with that logic.

              Buy One Thousand Gifts here.

              7. Living Life As A Thank You

                Written by authors Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons, this book drives home that whatever you’re given in life, even if it’s bad, saying thank you for these can change your life. This book provides a gratitude plan for those looking to delve into gratitude and also to help them understand how gratitude can improve the daily feelings of compassion, hope, and love.

                Advertising

                Buy Living Life As A Thank You here.

                8. The Little Book of Hygge

                  Pronounced as Hoo-ga, the idea of Hygge has Danish origins. It loosely translates to a feeling of community, well-being and coziness. The author – Meik Wiking – writes about Hygge as a way to introduce this concept and how people can incorporate this into your life.

                  And it’s not like these are very difficult to achieve. According to Hygge, things like taking breaks, and being present are easy to do. They also aren’t that much of a stretch to the ideas and benefits that we get when expressing gratitude.

                  Buy The Little Book of Hygge here.

                  9. The Gifts of Imperfection

                    Brené Brown has written all kinds of books over the years on a variety of topics. One in her wheelhouse focuses on gratitude. To Brown, she outlines ten guideposts that are designed to inspire people to live a wholehearted and authentic life. She argues that by living your life in this way, it’s easier to accept, show compassion, and cultivate gratitude in your life.

                    Buy The Gifts of Imperfection here.

                    10. Everyday Gratitude

                      For those looking for quick bursts of information or something very easy to read, picking up a copy of Everyday Gratitude could be an option. The focus of this book is revolving around quotes from influential figures plus reflections and practices for viewing life as a gift. This is great for those who aren’t too keen on knowing the inner workings and want to experience gratitude first hand in a faster way.

                      But Everyday Gratitude here.

                      Advertising

                      11. Gratitude

                        The final book we’ll share is one written by Oliver Sacks titled Gratitude. Even though he didn’t do any research in the gratitude field, his essays and the multiple books he’s published since the early 1980s made their marks on many people.

                        Based on his essays and books it’s clear that Sacks was a man filled with gratitude. Even when he announced to people that he had terminal cancer in January 2015, he had this to say:

                        “I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.”

                        This book consists of four essays that were published in The New York Times – one of them being the essay where he announced his illness. This is complemented by his partner’s words and photographs of the last few years of his life.

                        If you’re looking for a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching book that looks at the entire cycle of life, this is your best option.

                        Buy Gratitude here.

                        Final Thoughts

                        In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy to lose ourselves or forget about feeling grateful in our lives. These books teach us and remind us to slow down and take notice of the small things in life.

                        Many of these books also stress why that is so important to do in the first place. For those looking to hope into the world of gratitude, you can’t go wrong with picking up any of these books.

                        Featured photo credit: Ales Me via unsplash.com

                        More by this author

                        Anna Chui

                        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

                        It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous The Jeopardy of Taking Others’ Opinions Seriously life is pain Life Is Pain: Why a Life Without Pain Guarantees True Suffering Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind What Is The Secret To Convincing Someone To Change Their Minds?

                        Trending in Happiness

                        1 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 2 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 3 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 4 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness 5 Dismissing Sadness Will End up Making You Sadder

                        Read Next

                        Advertising
                        Advertising
                        Advertising

                        Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                        Posture

                        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                        Facial Expressions

                        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

                        Advertising

                        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                        2. Relax Your Face

                        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

                        Advertising

                        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                        3. Smile More

                        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                        4. Hand Gestures

                        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

                        Advertising

                        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                        5. Enhance Your Handshake

                        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

                        Advertising

                        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                        Final Takeaways

                        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        Read Next