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Gratitude VS Appreciation: Understanding the Difference

Gratitude and appreciation are two words that are often used interchangeably. Both are positive emotions that involve acknowledging something good, but there are some subtle differences between the two. 

Understanding these differences can help cultivate a positive mindset and improve overall well-being.

In this article, we’ll explore the difference between gratitude and appreciation, how to cultivate these emotions, and the benefits of doing so. 

Whether you want to improve your mental health, relationships, or career, practicing gratitude and appreciation can make a big difference.

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gratitude vs appreciation

Gratitude vs Appreciation: What’s the Difference?

Gratitude and appreciation are two powerful emotions that can profoundly impact our lives. While they are often used interchangeably, the two have some key differences.


Gratitude is acknowledging the blessings in our lives and expressing appreciation for them. It involves focusing on the positive aspects of our lives and recognizing the good things we often take for granted.

Gratitude can help us develop a positive mindset and improve our mental and physical health.


On the other hand, appreciation is recognizing and valuing the people and things in our lives. 

It involves acknowledging the positive qualities and characteristics of others and expressing our appreciation for them.

Appreciation can help us develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with others and increase feelings of connection and intimacy.

Both gratitude and appreciation are essential emotions that can positively impact our lives.

By practicing gratitude, we can cultivate a sense of contentment and happiness.

By practicing appreciation, we can deepen our relationships with others and develop a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Related article:  How to practice gratitude daily

gratitude vs appreciation

The Difference Between Gratitude and Appreciation

While gratitude and appreciation are closely related emotions, subtle differences exist between them. 

Here are a few examples of Gratitude vs Appreciation to illustrate the differences:

Gratitude: Feeling thankful for having a supportive friend who is always there to listen and offer encouragement.

Appreciation: Recognizing the unique qualities of that friend, such as their kindness, empathy, and sense of humor.

Gratitude: Feeling thankful for having a job that pays the bills and provides financial security.

Appreciation: Recognizing the positive aspects of the job, such as the opportunity for personal growth and development, supportive colleagues, or the chance to make a positive impact on the world.

Gratitude: Feeling thankful for having a comfortable home and a reliable car.

Appreciation: Recognizing the qualities of the home and car that make them unique, such as their aesthetic appeal, their functionality, or the memories associated with them.

Gratitude: Feeling thankful for a sunny day that lifts your spirits and fills you with joy.

Appreciation: Recognizing the beauty and complexity of the natural world, such as how the sunlight filters through the trees or how the clouds change shape in the sky.

Gratitude: Feeling thankful for the help and support of a friend during a difficult time.

Appreciation: Recognizing the unique qualities of that friend, such as their creativity, intelligence, or sense of humor.

Gratitude: Feeling thankful for having a safe and comfortable place to sleep at night.

Appreciation: Recognizing the qualities of the bed and bedding that make them special, such as their softness, warmth, or comfort.

gratitude vs appreciation-gifts

The Importance of Gratitude and Appreciation 

Both gratitude and appreciation are essential emotions that can positively impact your life differently.

The Importance of Gratitude

Gratitude helps you focus on the good things in your life and acknowledge your blessings.

It encourages you to appreciate the small things that often go unnoticed and helps you develop a positive mindset that can improve your mental and physical health.

The Importance of Appreciation

On the other hand, appreciation helps you recognize the value of the people and things in your life.

It encourages you to focus on the positive qualities and characteristics of others and helps you develop more profound, more meaningful relationships.

According to the University of Pennsylvania, positive psychology research has shown that cultivating gratitude and appreciation can profoundly impact our mental and physical health, relationships, and overall well-being.

The Benefits of Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude and appreciation are two powerful emotions that can profoundly impact our lives. Here are some of the many benefits of both gratitude and appreciation:

Increased happiness: Practicing gratitude and feeling appreciated can increase happiness and well-being.

Improved mental health: Gratitude can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and increase feelings of positivity.

Better physical health: Gratitude can improve physical health by reducing inflammation, boosting immune function, and lowering blood pressure.

Reduced stress: Being a grateful human along with feeling appreciated can reduce stress and improve our ability to cope with challenges

Greater resilience: Cultivating a positive mindset through gratitude can help you cope with stress and adversity, making you more resilient in the face of challenges.

Deeper relationships: Both Gratitude and appreciation can strengthen relationships and increase feelings of connection and intimacy with others.

Increased self-esteem: Expressing appreciation towards others can boost their self-esteem and increase feelings of worthiness. Additionally, When we feel appreciated, we are more likely to see ourselves positively and have greater self-esteem.

Improved communication: Expressing appreciation can improve communication by creating a supportive environment.

Greater motivation: Focusing on your life’s positive qualities and experiences can increase motivation and help you find meaning and purpose in your daily activities.

Improved performance: Appreciation can improve performance by reinforcing positive behavior and creating a sense of value and purpose.

Increased productivity: When we feel appreciated, we are more likely to be productive and perform at our best.

gratitude vs appreciation

How to Cultivate Gratitude and Appreciation

Now that we’ve explored the differences between gratitude and appreciation and why they’re worth practicing let’s dive into some practical strategies for cultivating these emotions in your daily life.

Gratitude Practice

Keep a gratitude journal. 

Keeping a gratitude journal is a powerful tool that is very effective in cultivating an attitude of gratitude. 

Making a conscious choice to write in a gratitude journal regularly can change our mental state and help to shift us towards a positive outlook on life.

This subtle shift in attitude can make all the difference in the world.  

Maintaining a gratitude journal helps us focus on the positive rather than the negative- allowing us to see things from a different perspective.

AND The more we focus on the positives in life, the less time we have to entertain negative emotions.

That’s a win-win-win!

Practice mindfulness

Take a few moments each day to focus on your breath and notice the world around you. This can help you cultivate a sense of gratitude for the present moment.

Express gratitude to others.

Take the time to thank someone for something they’ve done for you or express appreciation for their presence in your life. This can strengthen relationships and increase feelings of connection and intimacy.

Focus on the positive.

When faced with a challenging situation, focus on the positive aspects or what you can learn. This can help us find feelings of gratitude even in difficult times.

Consider making a gratitude board as a physical reminder to help us focus on the positive things in your life.

Write Thank-you Notes

Send a gratitude letter to someone you are grateful for.  

Keep a gratitude jar.

Write down things you’re grateful for on slips of paper and put them in a jar. When you’re feeling down, you can pull out the slips and remind yourself of the good things in your life.

This is the Gratitude Jar that we have. It was on Oprah’s Favorite Things list, and we love it!

Related article: How to Make a Gratitude Jar

Practice gratitude during meals.

Take a moment before each meal to express gratitude for the food you’re about to eat and the people who made it possible.

Give back

Volunteer your time or resources to a passionate cause. This can help us to develop a greater sense of purpose and gratitude for our gifts, talents, and abilities.

Serving others gives us a deeper understanding of the blessings in our lives.

gratitude vs appreciation

Expressions of Gratitude and Appreciation

Expressions of gratitude and appreciation are powerful ways to strengthen your relationships, increase feelings of connection and intimacy, cultivate a positive mindset, and lead to greater happiness.

How to express gratitude and appreciation to others:

Verbalize your appreciation and gratitude: The most straightforward way to show appreciation is often the most effective. Saying “thank you” can show appreciation for something someone has done for you, no matter how small.

Write a thank-you note: Writing a thank-you note can show someone that you truly appreciate their kindness or help. A handwritten note can be significant in our digital age.

Give a small gift: A small gift, such as a bouquet of flowers or a favorite snack, can be a thoughtful way to express appreciation and show someone you’re thinking of them.  

If it’s a family member, a close friend, or a life partner, give them a specific gift that you know will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Spend quality time together: Quality time is a valuable way to show appreciation. Taking the time to listen and engage with someone can show them that you value their presence and strengthen a positive emotional connection. 

Acknowledge their strengths: Recognizing someone’s strengths or positive qualities can show appreciation and make them feel valued and appreciated.

Give a compliment: A genuine compliment can go a long way in showing someone that you appreciate their efforts or accomplishments.

Offer help: Sometimes, the best way to show appreciation is to offer help or support. You can show them you value their well-being by being there for someone when needed.

Related article:  The Five Love Languages for Couples

gratitude vs appreciation in the workplace

Gratitude and Appreciation in the Workplace

Recognition programs are a great way to show appreciation for employees or team members who go above and beyond in their work. 

These programs can help improve employee morale, increase job satisfaction, and ultimately improve the success of the organization. 

Gratitude and Appreciation: Recognition programs that can be implemented in the workplace:

The employee of the month

Recognize one employee each month who has demonstrated exceptional performance or gone above and beyond. A little gratitude goes a long way.

Peer recognition

Allow employees to nominate their colleagues for recognition based on their contributions or accomplishments.

Performance-based rewards

Offer rewards or bonuses to employees who meet or exceed specific performance goals. Recognition of an employee’s performance quality can greatly affect company morale.

Anniversary recognition

Recognize employees who have been with the company for a certain number of years.

Incentive programs

Offer incentives such as gift cards, time off, or other rewards for employees who achieve certain goals or milestones.  Be sure to include genuine words of appreciation.  

Team recognition

Recognize teams or departments who have worked together to achieve a common goal or milestone.

Public recognition

Recognize employees publicly through social media, company newsletters, or other platforms.

Holiday Bonus

Money talks.  Especially during the holiday season.  Include a simple note of appreciation. This kind gesture will improve employee morale and job satisfaction.

FAQs: Gratitude Vs. Appreciation:  What’s the Difference?

Q: What are the benefits of practicing gratitude and appreciation?

Practicing gratitude and appreciation can improve our relationships, increase our resilience, and enhance our overall well-being. It can also improve our mental health and reduce stress and anxiety.

Q: Can gratitude and appreciation be directed towards oneself?

Absolutely! Practicing self-gratitude and self-appreciation can improve our self-esteem and overall sense of self-worth. It involves recognizing our strengths and qualities and being thankful for our lives’ good things.

Q: How can I cultivate gratitude and appreciation in my life?

There are many ways to cultivate gratitude and appreciation, such as practicing mindfulness, keeping a gratitude journal, and expressing gratitude towards others. It involves being mindful of the present moment and focusing on the positive aspects of our lives.

Q: Can gratitude and appreciation be taught to children?

Yes, teaching children about gratitude and appreciation can help them to develop a positive outlook on life and foster healthy relationships. We can teach gratitude and appreciation by modeling these behaviors, encouraging them to express thanks, and helping them to see the good in others.

More Resources: Gratitude and Appreciation

Robert Emmons is a leading researcher and writer on the topic of gratitude.

He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the author of several books on gratitude, including “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” and “Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity”.

His research has shown that practicing gratitude can have a profound impact on our mental and physical health, as well as our relationships with others.

His studies have found that people who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, are more optimistic, and have a greater sense of well-being.

Shop Gratitude and Appreciation Resources:

Conclusion: Gratitude Vs Appreciation

Gratitude and appreciation are powerful emotions that can profoundly impact our lives.  

The research cannot be denied; grateful people are happier people!

By cultivating these emotions and making them a regular part of our daily lives, we can develop a more positive mindset, improve our mental and physical health, and deepen our relationships with others.

Through gratitude, we can focus on the blessings in our lives and acknowledge the good things that often go unnoticed.

By expressing appreciation towards others, we can strengthen our relationships and increase feelings of connection and intimacy.

So take the time to express gratitude for all good things (even the little things) in your life and appreciate the people who make it better. 

You’ll be amazed at its positive impact on your life and your world.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to stop by.  Please leave any comments you may have below!  I would love to hear from you!

​Have a beautiful day!

XO, Christine

PS. Want to learn more about me? Check out my article: 100 Random Things About Me.

christine mathews

I’ve been keeping it real since 1963. 🙂

I’m a child of God, a wifey, mama, grandma, full-time creative, domestic engineer, and self-care enthusiast.

I am obsessed with all things makeup and skincare and love getting my hands dirty out in the garden, my art room, or in the kitchen, whipping up something yummy for the fam.

I’m always down to chat and love collaborating with other creatives and brands alike!

Feel free to reach out anytime!

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