THE BEST TED TALKS AND VIDEOS ON THE POWER OF GRATITUDE

TED TALKS


Louie Schwartzberg

Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

Louie Schwartzberg’s breathtaking photography of stunning nature, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day!

Tania Luna

How a penny made me feel like a millionaire

As a young child, Tania Luna left her home in post-Chernobyl Ukraine to take asylum in the US. And one day, on the floor of the New-York homeless shelter where she and her family lived, she found a penny. She has never again felt so rich… This is a meditation on the bittersweet joys of childhood , and how to keep them preciously in our minds.

Laura Trice

Remember to say thank you

In this deceptively simple 3-minute talk, Dr. Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words “thank you” … to deepen a friendship, to repair a bond, to make sure another person knows what they mean to you. Try it!

Martin Seligman

The new era of positive psychology

Martin Seligman on what can modern psychology help us to become?

Candy Chang

Before I die I want to …

In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: “Before I die I want to ___.” Her neighbours’ answers were surprising, poignant, funny … and became an unexpected mirror for the community. What’s your answer?

Andrew Solomon

How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

Writer Andrew Solomon has spent his career telling stories of the hardships of others. Now he turns inward and gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.

Brian Doyle

365 Days of Thank You

This 8-minute talk comes from Brian Doyle, who discusses how a near-death experience led him to start thinking about the role of gratitude in his life. Specifically, Doyle made a commitment to genuinely thank one person in his life every single day for a full year. This short talk is not just an inspiring story, but makes us consider how we engage with gratitude in our daily lives.

Hailey Bartholomew

365 Grateful Project

This 12-minute talk from Hailey Bartholomew is, like Doyle’s, centered on a daily, year-long project. Unlike Doyle’s, however, Bartholomew’s focuses on photography and using photography to find gratitude in her life every day.

Robert Biswas-Diener

Your Happiest days are behind you

This 13-minute talk from positive psychology and happiness researcher Robert Biswas-Diener approaches gratitude by discussing happiness. He argues that most people try to reach happiness by ascribing it to accomplishing things in the future, rather than looking back at happy moments in their pasts. He claims that once people realize they have a lot to be grateful for in their pasts rather than exclusively looking towards the future, they are closer to reaching happiness.

David Steindl-Rast

Want to be happy? Be grateful

This 15-minute talk, from “monk and interfaith scholar” David Steindl-Rast, discusses gratitude and specifically its relationship to happiness. In the talk, he argues that:

“it is not happiness that makes us grateful” but “gratefulness that makes us happy”.

Since being grateful sounds easier to most of us than being happy, this is an exciting idea. This quote from Steindl-Rast is also mentioned in more than one of the following videos, so this talk seemed like a good place to start.

Mike Robbins

The power of appreciation

This nearly 20-minute talk from former professional baseball player and current speaker and author Mike Robbins focuses on gratitude in the workplace. In the talk, Robbins discusses the difference between recognition and appreciation, and argues that appreciating employees for who they are rather than the things they do leads to better results for everyone. This is a good talk to inspire us to increase gratitude in the workplace and business in general!

Shawn Achor

The happy secret to better work

This 12-minute talk from positive psychologist Shawn Achor is extremely popular because of his use of humor throughout. In the talk, he starts out by discussing a story from his childhood involving his little sister, which underlines the importance of seeing the positive side of everything. By the end of the talk, he has laid out a plan for everyone to rewire their brains to recognize the positive before the negative, starting with recognizing things they are grateful for. This funny, actionable talk is a must-watch!

Jane Ransom

Discover the Three Keys of Gratitude to Unlock Your Happiest Life!

This 20-minute talk from hypnotist, coach, and speaker Jane Ransom discusses the relationship between gratitude and happiness, specifically how practicing gratitude can lead to happiness. In the talk, she discusses her ideas in a very accessible way, making this an excellent way to introduce people (and even children) to the power of gratitude. While the talk is relatively long, the ideas within are engaging and simple to grasp, so people should not shy away from this talk because of its length!

Katia Sol

The transformative power of gratitude

This 20-minute TED Talk is a deep exploration into the power of gratitude and why it works, including why a lot of people do not practice gratitude. In the talk, leadership and education expert Katia Sol discusses how gratitude is an ancient “technology” which many are just now identifying the power of, and explores some of the recent research into gratitude, including some of Robert Emmons’s work. The information within is very well-presented and justified by research, so anyone interested in learning about gratitude should give this video a watch.

Jennifer Moss 

The epidemic of smiles and the science of gratitude

Jennifer’s story about how ‘faking it until you make it’ – which in her case meant smiling and intensely focusing on the smallest wins during a difficult time in her family’s life, helped re-train her brain to find more gratitude in every day. She encourages us to catalogue every day for 14-30 days (or longer) the things that we are grateful for. As was the case for her, Jennifer suggests this practice will retrain your brain down a path of positivity!

YOUTUBE VIDEOS

Brené Brown and Evan Carmichael

“GRATITUDE Makes us JOYFUL!”

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah’s Gratitude Journal

Oprah Winfrey

What Oprah Knows About the Power of Gratitude

Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey

Abundance and Gratitude

Marie Forleo

Gratitude: The Most Powerful Practice You’re Not Doing

Matthew McConaughey

Best Actor Oscars 2014 acceptance speech and Thankfulness words

“Thank you to the other nominees. All these performances were impeccable in my opinion. I didn’t see a false note anywhere. I want to thank Jean-Marc Vallée, our director. Want to thank Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, who I worked with daily.

“There’s a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I want to thank God. ‘Cause that’s who I look up to.

“He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you’ve got God, you got a friend. And that friend is you.’

“To my family, that who and what I look forward to. To my father who, I know he’s up there right now with a big pot of gumbo. He’s got a lemon meringue pie over there. He’s probably in his underwear. And he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite and he’s dancing right now.1 o

“To you, Dad, you taught me what it means to be a man. To my mother who’s here tonight, who taught me and my two older brothers’ demanded that we respect ourselves. And what we in turn learned was that we were then better able to respect others. Thank you for that, Mama. To my wife, Camila, and my kids Levi, Vida and Mr. Stone, the courage and significance you give me every day I go out the door is unparalleled. You are the four people in my life that I want to make the most proud of me. Thank you.

“And to my hero. That’s who I chase. Now when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say ‘who’s your hero?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know, I gotta think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.’ I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says ‘who’s your hero?’ I said, ‘I thought about it. You know who it is? It’s me in 10 years.’ So I turned 25. Ten years later, that same person comes to me and says, ‘So, are you a hero?’ And I was like, ‘not even close. No, no, no.’ She said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because my hero’s me at 35.’ So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.

“So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say, ‘Amen.’ To that I say, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ To that I say ‘just keep living.’ Thank you.”

An Experiment in Gratitude – The Science of Happiness

The Gratitude Experiment

This 5-minute video is another exploration of psychological findings about gratitude and happiness. The video focused on a daily journal, and had participants either write down things they were grateful for, things that annoyed them, or whatever they felt like writing about. They found that, as research would indicate, those who wrote down things they were grateful for had higher levels of well-being. This short, accessible video is an excellent demonstration of how gratefulness relates to happiness.

 Robert Emmons

Gratitude Works!: The Science and Practice of Saying Thanks

This long talk (over an hour long) comes from leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmons. In the video, he discusses the power of gratitude, often referring back to recent research findings. This is an extremely long, academic treatment of the subject for people who are looking to learn a lot about the power of gratitude and its basis in scientific findings.

Robert Emmons

Cultivating Gratitude

The Science of Gratitude

This short 2-minute video is a quick summary of what some of the research into gratitude has found. These findings include better sleep, higher levels of happiness, and more pro-social behavior. The video also includes appealing accompanying visuals, making this video a great introduction to some of the benefits of gratitude.

Taye Diggs with Lewis Howes

Living in Gratitutde

Attitude of Gratitude – Children’s Bedtime Meditation

While the other videos on this list are intentionally not guided meditations, this 15-minute video is a guided gratitude meditation for children at bedtime. It is a good way to introduce children to the idea of gratitude! While this meditation is definitely aimed at children trying to fall asleep, anyone who has trouble cultivating gratitude might find it a helpful introduction to a meditation practice.

 Gratitude Is Good For You

This is another extremely short video (not even two minutes) which summarizes some of the benefits of gratitude. This video focuses on both mental and physical benefits of gratitude. It is extremely accessible and entertaining, so it is a good way to introduce anyone to the power of gratitude. The video also includes a few ways that anyone can start practicing gratitude and reaping these benefits in their own lives.

 Alisha Leytem

How and Why to Start a Gratitude Journal: Gratitude Practice

This 6-minute video from Alisha Leytem, a wellness coach and yoga instructor, discusses the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, as well as how to get started on your own gratitude journal practice. The video includes some of her own entries in her gratitude journal to give the viewer an idea of what a gratitude journal looks like, for the people who prefer specific examples. The video is non-academic and extremely accessible, so anyone who is looking for help cultivating gratitude in their lives should find this video to be a helpful resource.

Janice Kaplan

The Gratitude Diaries

This 11-minute video is an interview with Janice Kaplan about her book, The Gratitude Diaries. In the video, Janice Kaplan describes what got her interested in gratitude and why she decided to start practicing gratitude for a year, which is the journey she documents in her book. This is an interesting video because of the author’s personal journey dealing with gratitude, and anyone whose interest is piqued by the video can learn more about gratitude and the author’s journey by looking into her book.

Brian Tracy

The Four A’s for Expressing Gratitude

This 7-minute video from author and speaker Brian Tracy discusses the importance of practicing gratitude as well as the dangers of focusing on the negatives in life.

He breaks down the “four A’s” of gratitude into: appreciation, approval, admiration, and attention.

In the video, he explains how thinking of gratitude in the sense of these four ideas can lead to improvements in your personality, self-esteem, and eventually well-being.