Read up on how to be more grateful

What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things that you expressed gratitude for today? Of all of the beautiful things in your life, what would you see when you looked around? Feeling and expressing gratitude is something that can be learned. Here are four books to help.

If you’ve spent any time at all on Pinterest, you’ve undoubtedly come across the quote, “What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday?”

"What if you woke up today with only the things that you expressed gratitude for yesterday?"

God may not be part of the equation for you, but what if we rephrased that question and just asked ourselves, “What if you woke up today with only the things that you expressed gratitude for yesterday?” What would you be left with?

Each time I stumble across those words, they serve as a beautiful reminder of not only all that I have, but all that I need to be actively grateful for.

So how do we take this quote and live in a way that reflects that idea? How do we stop taking the beauty in our lives for granted and truly express just how thankful we are?

I’ve written before about the best apps for fostering gratitude, but today I’d love to share with you some great books that help you reframe how you view your world and express your gratitude, both of which will make those apps a whole lot more useful.

Don't miss our list of those best iPhone apps for fostering gratitude >>

Here are four great books on gratitude:

Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Price: $11

Based on the premise that gratitude is a choice, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy includes exercises and other tools for fostering your sense of gratitude. This is the most religion-based book in the group. If that’s something that is central to how you view the world, you’ll love DeMoss’s action plan, Growing in Gratitude: A 30-Day Devotional Guide, toward the end of her book.

Learn what you can do to raise grateful kids >>

Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life, by M. J. Ryan

Price: $11

In the opening pages of Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life, Ryan explains, “Happiness, the sheer joy of being alive, is within our reach. All we need is an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude creates happiness because it makes us feel full, complete; gratitude is the realization that we have everything we need, at least in this moment.” That assumption runs through Ryan’s book. Her chapter on practices of gratitude offers ways in which you can actively change how you feel and express gratitude.

Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life, by Angeles Arrien

Price: $15

Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life is broken into chapters for each month wherein Arrien invites her readers to ask themselves what would happen if they made gratitude their focal point for one full year. She uses a theme for each month to help her readers create a new foundation of gratitude.

The Gratitude Factor: Enhancing Your Life through Grateful Living, by Charles M. Shelton, Ph.D.

Price: $14

In The Gratitude Factor: Enhancing Your Life through Grateful Living, Shelton, a clinical psychologist, explores and explains the various types of gratitude and offers insights based on his own experiences into how humans experience and express gratitude. He included exercises, strategies and questions for reflection throughout the book.

Whether you read one or all four of these books, the most important thing is finding a way to remind yourself daily to truly see the beauty that surrounds you.

Final words

Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese mystic philosopher, wrote, “If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

And that’s exactly it. The whole world belongs to you. Happy reading!

More on gratitude

Rocky Road and rainbows: Losing a father and appreciating life
What I'm loving this week: 5 Ways to say thank you
Practicing Gratitude: 10 Simple ways to show gratitude to your kids

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Comments on "Practicing Gratitude: Best books on gratitude"

Emma June 25, 2012 | 10:00 AM

Fostering gratitude is a choice you have to make daily. But I do believe that if we continually thank God for what we do have, He will make us content in even the things we don't have. It is a choice that affects all aspects of your life and will lead to a healthier outlook.

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