The Best Listens on Practicing Gratitude for Adults and Children Alike

Discover new ways to practice gratitude and discover the benefits of mindful thinking with these listens.

Let's be honest—it can be hard to make time for conscious gratitude...sometimes it’s hard to even understand why you should be grateful for anything at all. But focusing on thankfulness can have rewarding effects on a person’s health—mentally, spiritually, and even physically. The following audiobooks offer helpful ways to practice gratitude, and insights into why it’s vital to do so, with listens for both children and adults.

 

Gratitude Listens for Adults

The Thank-You Project

The Thank-You Project

How often do you reach out to loved ones to let them know how much they mean to you? In The Thank-You Project, that’s exactly what author Nancy Davis Kho set out to do. As Kho approached a milestone birthday, she began to reflect on the people in her life who have had the most positive influence on her. She then decided to write letters to thank them for how they inspired her. The letters went out to people from all different parts of her life: family, friends, mentors, teachers, coworkers, and even former friends and exes. While people seemed genuinely pleased that she chose to reach out, Kho was surprised to discover how much these expressions of gratitude positively affected her. In fact, research shows that when we actively appreciate the formative people in our lives, we also experience a lasting increase in our happiness levels. A reflection on Kho’s own experiences with gratitude, which the author narrates herself, The Thank-You Project also offers a roadmap to finding ways to your own gratitude and happiness.

Gratitude

Gratitude

It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well, but what about when life isn't going so smoothly? Where do we find our gratitude then? In Gratitude: The Essential Practice for Happiness and Fulfillment, cultural anthropologist and educator Angeles Arrien gives listeners insight into how to cultivate gratitude so that it becomes a natural part of everyday life. In this listen, Arrien draws from social science research, along with stories, prayers, insights, and practices from cultures and traditions spanning the world. Showing how recent studies have proven that daily gratitude can change your life for the better, she invites you to explore: how to overcome envy and comparison, the best practices for remaining grateful. meditation, and more. Arrien’s narration of her own audiobook is inspiring and comforting.

The Gifts of Imperfection, 10th Anniversary Edition

The Gifts of Imperfection, 10th Anniversary Edition

Social scientist Brené Brown has inspired millions of people with her self-development wisdom. In this listen, Brown focuses on embracing imperfections and learning how to be thankful for the aspects of ourselves we might have previously seen as shortcomings. Rather than simply talking about it, Brown makes this attainable by creating actionable guideposts that can lead to wholehearted living. The Gifts of Imperfection has sold more than two million copies in 35 different languages across the globe. This 10th anniversary edition features a new forward and the audiobook is read by the author.

Gratitude in Low Voices

Gratitude in Low Voices

Less of a self-help guide, Gratitude in Low Voices is an inspiring memoir following the author’s own personal journey to gratitude. Dawit Gebremichael Habte has experienced a lot of trauma in his life. As a teenager, he was forced to flee his home country of Eritrea. During the Eritrean-Ethiopian war, he and his sisters immigrated to nearby Kenya. They had nothing. No parents. No documents to help their passage. No money. And yet Dawit refused to give up hope. Keeping a positive outlook helped Dawit focus on studying, and he was later accepted to Johns Hopkins University. He eventually got a job as a software engineer at Bloomberg, and later he was able to return to his hometown to help other Eritreans find business opportunities. In spite of all Dawit experienced in his lifetime, his positivity and his gratitude helped him stay focused on building a life for himself and helping others. Allow his story, as narrated by Benjamin Alfred Onyango Ochieng, to inspire your own journey towards gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

365 Thank Yous

365 Thank Yous

At the age of 53, John Kralik felt that he had hit rock bottom. His law firm was failing. He was in the midst of a painful divorce from his second wife, and he felt disconnected from his children. He was overweight and living in a tiny apartment. Overall, his dreams just seemed to be permanently out of reach. But then, he reached a turning point: he realized he’d spent so much time focusing on everything he didn’t have that he’d totally lost sight of all the things he did have. John considered how much more tolerable his life would be if he were to shift his perspective. So he decided to set a goal: to write 365 thank-you notes over the next year. Day after day, he wrote thank-you notes for favors both big and seemingly inconsequential. Almost immediately, he noticed positive changes. He lost weight and gained energy. He forged closer friendships. And he even found some financial gain. As the author shares in this self-narrated listen, simply writing thank-you notes turned his entire life around. Maybe it’ll inspire you to start writing!

The Science of Positivity

The Science of Positivity

All of these audiobooks on this list discuss how gratitude and positivity can lead to life-changing events, but how does it really work? What is the science behind it? In The Science of Positivity, neurochemical expert Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, teaches you the scientific benefits of positivity and optimism. Then she gives you the tools to find that positivity for yourself. In just minutes a day for six weeks, this listen will help you build new pathways to seeing the world in different ways and shift your thinking to a rewarding sense of optimism. Narrator Amanda Carlin narrates the audiobook in a style that makes the information relatable and easy to understand.

The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays

Wonderfully immersive, this audiobook is a truly unique experience. In The Wisdom of Sundays, Oprah Winfrey offers up steps to live your life with more gratitude for the world around you and a wide-open heart. In each of the 10 chapters in this listen, Oprah focuses on one powerful step in her own spiritual journey. Every step features personal essays and powerfully inspirational interviews with visionaries such as Gary Zukav, John Kabat-Zinn, Bryan Stevenson, and Caroline Myss.

The Positive Shift

The Positive Shift

We now know that positivity can have lasting effects on every aspect of your health. In fact, studies show that people with a positive mindset live, on average, about 7.5 years longer than those without. So for those of us who are a bit more cynical and negative, how do we turn it around and show more authentic gratitude for the world around us? In The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity, Dr. Catherine Sanderson looks at the scientific reasons behind how positive mindsets have a lasting effect on our psychological and physical health. Then she pulls from cutting-edge research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, along from real-world examples, to give listeners practical advice for how to change their thought patterns. Some of the positive behaviors Sanderson lists are: appreciating nature, volunteering, spending more money on experiences rather than things, and many more.

 

Gratitude Listens for Children

Gratitude isn’t just for adults. The next two listens speak directly to children, aiming to help youngsters start their journey towards gratitude before they pick up the negativity habits of their elders.

Thank You, Omu!

Thank You, Omu!

Oge Mora’s children’s audiobook is a heartwarming story of community and sharing that will have young listeners thinking about gratitude in their own lives. Omu’s stew smells like heaven, and everyone in the neighborhood dreams of it. As neighbor’s come by one-by-one to get a taste, Omu generously gives out her stew a little at a time until she realizes she has none left. Was Omu so concerned about feeding others that she forgot to leave some food for herself? Oge Mora’s charming story is inspired by the strong women in her life, so this listen is her version of a thank-you letter.

Thankful

Thankful

Eileen Spinelli’s Thankful is a story about practicing thankfulness by paying attention to all of the wonderful things all kinds of people do for one another each and every day. This listen reminds listeners, both young and old, of the many blessings of everyday life. Narrator Ben Holland captures the gentleness of the story, as well as its delightful rhythm and rhymes, in his performance.

 


Emily Martin received her PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi. She currently writes for Book Riot and co-hosts the podcast Book Squad Goals.

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