I’ve been noticing for a while now that people use the terms gratitude and appreciation interchangeably, and they’re not interchangeable. They have two separate meanings and two distinct ways they show up in a fulfilled, happy, balanced life.

Today I’m going to break down the differences, and I’m going to share my top tool to practice appreciation in your life. Next week we’ll talk about all things gratitude, so make sure you check back in!


What the heck is appreciation? The simple definition is that when you appreciate something, you take it off of autopilot and bring your focus into the immediate, here and now, with full sensory awareness.

When you appreciate something, it’s like you’re seeing it with new eyes.

In the end, appreciation is being FULLY present in a moment with something and seeing it in a way you might not have seen it previously.


Feeling grateful is different. It’s not so here-and-now focused as much as a broader view or feeling.

The real difference is that when you feel grateful there’s actually a feeling (big or small) of some level of tension or struggle. Gratitude, at its very root, has some sense of comparison to something else. You might be grateful that you have such a wonderful partner after seeing another couple treat each other poorly. Or you might be worried about money. So, you might be grateful to have a beautiful home and “things” because you want to be grateful for what you do have.

This comparison or tension generally isn’t conscious, so you likely don’t think of gratitude this way, but that subtle friction is there nonetheless.

Practicing both appreciation and gratitude is important for a consistently fulfilled and satisfying life. Next week we’ll tackle all things gratitude. In the meantime, below is my top tip to start having more appreciation in your life right now.

Resources and Links:

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Chade-Meng Tan, Joy on Demand : The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within


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