Thanksgiving is a time when many of us look forward to gathering with family and friends, eating comfort food without thinking about calories, sitting back and relaxing, and kicking off the festive winter holiday season. But turkey and football aside, it's important to focus on the "thanks" part of the holiday, and
reflecting on these Instagram-worthy quotes on gratitude is one way to do just that.
Festivals of thankfulness aren't unique to the United States; as the Travel Channel points out,
many countries worldwide have festivals that express thankfulness, from the August Moon Festival in China to Pongal in India and Erntedankfest in Germany. Even Canada has its own national Thanksgiving in October. But for Americans, the holiday reminds us of the gratitude we owe not only to our forebears, but also to those who still serve our country and those who help us personally. It's also a reminder to be thankful for the little joys and blessings we encounter in everyday life.
In these tech-driven times, it's pretty much a given that we should express ourselves on social media during emotion-filled times such as Thanksgiving. So if you're looking for a
quote on gratitude to post, here are just a few of the many good options out there, spoken by sages both ancient and modern. "He Is A Wise Man Who Does Not Grieve For The Things He Has Not, But Rejoices For That Which He Has."
The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus may have lived more than 20 centuries ago, but his wisdom spans the generations and rings true today.
"As We Express Our Gratitude, We Must Never Forget That The Highest Appreciation Is Not To Utter Words But To Live By Them." Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
This sentiment, by President John F. Kennedy, rings so true. "Thank you" is a hollow statement if we don't live our thanks through our deeds.
"Gratitude Makes Sense Of Our Past, Brings Peace For Today, And Creates A Vision For Tomorrow."
Self-help author Melody Beattie sums up the timelessness of thankfulness in this beautiful quote.
"At Times Our Own Light Goes Out And Is Rekindled By A Spark From Another Person. Each Of Us Has Cause To Think With Deep Gratitude Of Those Who Have Lighted The Flame Within Us."
The essence of thankfulness is the connection it creates between us and others. Theologian Albert Schweitzer reminds us to be thankful for the people in our lives who bring us hope, comfort, and encouragement.
"Gratitude Is The Healthiest Of All Human Emotions. The More You Express Gratitude For What You Have, The More You Will Have Even More To Feel Gratitude For."
Just like love, gratitude is something that multiplies the more we express it, as author Zig Ziglar wisely notes.
"Be Thankful For What You Have; You'll End Up Having More. If You Concentrate On What You Don't Have, You Will Never, Ever Have Enough." CBS Photo Archive/CBS/Getty Images
This thought-provoking quote comes from Oprah Winfrey. And if she practices what she preaches, she must be the most grateful person on earth.
"Give Yourself A Gift Of Five Minutes Of Contemplation In Awe Of All That You See Around You. Go Outside And Turn Your Attention To The Many Miracles Around You. This Five-Minute-A-Day Regimen Of Appreciation And Gratitude Will Help You To Focus Your Life In Awe."
Renowned self-help guru Wayne Dyer offers this gem about remembering to marvel at all the wonders we have to be grateful for daily.
"Silent Gratitude Isn't Very Much To Anyone."
Gertrude Stein's words urge us to make our thanks loud and clear to those who bless our lives.
"When A Person Doesn't Have Gratitude, Something Is Missing In His Or Her Humanity."
This quote becomes even more significant when you realize that it comes from the late author and professor Elie Wiesel, a survivor of two concentration camps during the Holocaust.
"'Thank You' Is The Best Prayer That Anyone Could Say. I Say That One A Lot. Thank You Expresses Extreme Gratitude, Humility, Understanding."
Author Alice Walker reminds us not only of the importance of gratitude, but also of how thankfulness plays a part in our faith and our relationship to the Divine.
"Often People Ask How I Manage To Be Happy Despite Having No Arms And No Legs. The Quick Answer Is That I Have A Choice. I Can Be Angry About Not Having Legs, Or I Can Be Thankful That I Have A Purpose. I Chose Gratitude." Nick Vujicic, born with a rare disorder that left him without limbs, could have succumbed to anger or despair. Instead, he opted to live in hope and, as an evangelical minister, he helps others find their own reasons to be grateful. "One Can Never Pay In Gratitude; One Can Only Pay 'In Kind' Somewhere Else In Life."
This quote, from author Anne Lindbergh, notes how the "pay it forward" philosophy can spread the spirit of thanks far and wide.
"Does Not The Gratitude Of The Dog Put To Shame Any Man Who Is Ungrateful To His Benefactors?"
The 4th-century Greek St. Basil must have been a pet owner as well as a philosopher. How else could he have known how immensely thankful dogs are for just a scratch between the ears or a catch in the park? Post this one with a pic of your pup getting a special Thanksgiving treat — just be sure that you're not giving them
anything that's on this list. "Some People Grumble That Roses Have Thorns; I Am Grateful That Thorns Have Roses."
Sometimes, all it takes to inspire gratitude is a change in perspective. This quote from Alphonse Karr reflects this wonderful concept.
"Gratitude Is Not Only The Greatest Of Virtues, But The Parent Of All The Others."
The ancient Roman statesman Cicero was ahead of his time in realizing that the beauty of thankfulness is its ability to influence other types of goodness.
"Piglet Noticed That Even Though He Had A Very Small Heart, It Could Hold A Rather Large Amount Of Gratitude." Apic/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Children's books are often the greatest source of wisdom and philosophy, and this quote from A. A. Milne's
Winnie-the-Pooh is a case in point. "Let Us Rise Up And Be Thankful, For If We Didn't Learn A Lot Today, At Least We Learned A Little, And If We Didn't Learn A Little, At Least We Didn't Get Sick, And If We Got Sick, At Least We Didn't Die; So, Let Us All Be Thankful."
It could always be worse, right? This gem of gratitude comes from none other than Buddha.
"Gratitude Turns What We Have Into Enough."
This anonymous quote echoes Oprah Winfrey's sentiments above: Abundance starts with being thankful for what we have.
“Gratitude Is When Memory Is Stored In The Heart And Not In The Mind."
Lionel Hampton hints at the role forgiveness plays in cultivating a thankful heart. (A particularly relevant sentiment during the holidays.)
"The More Grateful I Am, The More Beauty I See."
Being grateful has a ripple effect in your life: The more you practice appreciation, the more you see to appreciate, as Mary Davis points out in this quote.
"We Can Only Be Said To Be Alive In Those Moments When Our Hearts Are Conscious Of Our Treasures."
From playwright Thornton Wilder, this quote calls us to be fully present in each moment. When we're paying attention, we notice more things to be thankful for.
"Let Us Be Grateful To People Who Make Us Happy; They Are The Charming Gardeners Who Make Our Souls Blossom."
As Marcel Proust so eloquently puts it, our friends and family are often what we're most thankful for in life. Without them, it's hard to feel grateful for the rest.