I want to put in a word here for something that I think is enormously important: gratitude. It makes an incredible difference in one’s life — especially when you feel the least grateful! When times are tough, and things are going wrong, if you can bring yourself to be grateful for something, a meal, a friend, a pet, a moment, your favorite pair of shoes, or your feet to put in them, it can turn everything around. I know that sounds Pollyanna-ish, and overly simple, but I have found that to be true at the hardest times. Sometimes you really have to struggle to find something to be grateful for, but if you can do it, you may find yourself looking at your problems differently and change your whole mood.

Just like everyone else, I have grumbled my way through the bad times. Financial problems, feeling sick or down, a huge disappointment, a broken romance, a fight with a child, mate or friend. And sometimes the bad stuff hits us in clumps, like a series of one-two punches until you think you can’t even get up again. But if, when that happens, you can bring yourself to think of one thing you’re grateful for, or five, or even ten, you may turn your whole mood or attitude around. And weirdly, when you start to be grateful, the things plaguing you turn around, and good things start to happen. I don’t know why it works that way, but it does. Gratitude brings change.

I recently bought an inspirational book, when I was feeling down. I was sure that it would help solve my problems, and help boost my spirits. Instead of telling me how to solve my own problems, it told me to put my own worries on the shelf, and help someone else. Are you kidding? Did the author have any idea of the miseries I was dealing with? But he was right. A couple of times, I decided to park my own woes, and try to cheer up someone else. And helping them suddenly helped me. It made a difference, and I felt better even though nothing in my life had changed—yet. It became addictive, and got to be fun cheering up other people, even though I had problems of my own. And pretty soon my problems took on a different perspective and didn’t seem so bad. So I think maybe that author was right.

But one thing is for sure and has always worked for me, no matter how down I am, or bad I feel, or how big my problems seem, if I can squeeze out one tiny drop of gratitude, it makes all the difference in the world, and things really do start to turn round. It’s worth a shot, and it’s a lot better than feeling bad. Gratitude really works.

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30 Comments so far
  1. Felina November 6, 2008 9:02 am

    I always believe there are 2 sides to every event and I always have 2 choices on how I view it.
    In my life, I have been blessed with the capability of viewing things positively. When I feel very down, I will think of family or friends or wonderful moments and things will be alright for me again. I suppose this is my way of feeling gratitude because I do this to ensure I do not burden others or even affect others with my problems / mood swings.

  2. Kim November 6, 2008 10:09 am

    You are right on target, Ms. Steel.

    And, I believe I remember as well, and remind myself of Oprah’s saying: every relationship’s foundation is built on gratitude and forgiveness. And strengthens such relationships.

  3. Eleni November 6, 2008 10:47 am

    No other comments….. but…. impressive and true!!!!

  4. JO November 6, 2008 12:37 pm


    What a perfect blog post for the month of November. I would like to “Thank You” for such inspiring words that I’m sure will reach out and touch many of your readers, especially during the holidays when a lot of people go through depression.

    Your well thought out post about gratitude will surely make me think twice before complaining, especially over the next two months. When it seems a lot of us get caught up in the stress that always seems to come with the holiday season.

    As Mother’s we always want to bring the best gifts to our children and during the holidays we do tend to worry if we will be able to fulfill their heartfelt Christmas wishes. But, truely the best gift of all is the “Love” that a family has for each other and not the presents that we give each other.

    Thanks for your wonderful words about Gratitude! I feel I have been given a wonderful “Thanks-giving” gift already! 🙂


    ONLY in the Lowcountry at

  5. September November 6, 2008 3:13 pm

    what inspirational book was it, I wonder? I’d like to take a look at it too.

  6. Daryoosh November 6, 2008 8:46 pm

    Accept my greetings from Iran! 😉

  7. Juli November 6, 2008 11:14 pm

    Well said!!
    An attitude of gratitude is one of the most valuable characteristics we can possess. I want to encourage you to keep a gratitude journal. Every day write 5 things you are grateful for. There are days when it’s not as easy as it sounds. But I actually did it for 365 days when I first got into recovery (11 years ago) and it made all of the difference.
    Thank you for your gift with words. I’ve been following you since the Promise 🙂
    A grateful fan!

  8. Kristen McLeod November 7, 2008 7:32 am

    It’s funny, how when a person discovers this ability (the use of gratitude) that we qualify it sometimes, like you did, by warning, ‘pollyannaish’, or like I do, ‘it may seem trite,’ but really, it is just that simple. That is maybe what gets us human beings. We expect complexity, we desire hard answers. The simple can sometimes elude.

    Thank-you so much for sharing with us that you, too, have ‘regular’ struggles. I know I certainly expect that because of your success that mundane things are behind you, and it’s not that I wish you difficulties, but it’s nice to hear that you struggle with the same things I do!


  9. Carolina Campos November 7, 2008 10:02 am

    I was very happy to hear of your blog, I always sign because I love you. Good luck and a great end of Ano. write a translator site to help, sorry.

  10. D D Scott November 7, 2008 12:23 pm

    So true…

    I have a Thankful Journal I write in at least once per week…listing all the things I’m thankful for. The items can be as simple as a fabulous autumn red tree or as life-altering and fabulous as a new love.

    When I’m down, I enjoy reading the entries to rekindle the warmth and love in my heart and soul.

    Smiles — D. D. Scott

  11. Victoria November 7, 2008 4:08 pm

    Dear Ms Steel,
    Thankyou for this wonderful blog! Just when I felt like giving up writing, I stumble across your blog, which is inspiring and also surprising. I did not imagine you to be so warm, funny and open. Im also very happy to find out that we have many things in common! Like being bilingual English/ French, I also dabbled in interior design (which I know I will follow up on in the future) and I have also had a family member who suffered from bi polar.
    Getting to the point, thanks for inspiring so many people! and thankyou for all the great books you have writen, there’s nothing I look forward to more than curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and your latest book!
    Take care,
    Victoria Rice, Melbourne, Australia.

  12. Marie Pinschmidt November 7, 2008 5:36 pm

    Ms. Steel, I just read your blog about art and had to write you. Oh, how much I admire you as well as your writing. What an inspiration you are. I’m an artist and writer and am sorry you had to give up your gallery. But everything is temporary! I have painted for most of my life and it helped me keep my equilibrium while caregiving for many years. Finding myself alone at the age 0f 70, I began writing but continued my painting. I have written three novels and a memoir.Two novels are self published but well received. (I felt I was too old to go the established publishing route as you have so successfully done. I wanted to see my name on a book in my lifetime!) Praise from my readers has given me a terrific boost and probably is adding years to my life. At the age of 80 I believe I’d just die if I didn’t have my art and my writing. An idea for another novel is haunting me and I just might succumb.

    I love your writing and so admire what you’ve done with your life.Perhaps another gallery is in your future.

    I’d be estatic if you took a moment to view my website above. Danielle, I’m living proof that “age is not a factor”.

    Continued success with dreams already materialized,dear lady; may you realize many more.
    Marie Pinschmidt

  13. Anne November 10, 2008 2:27 am

    did you know Michael Crichton?

  14. Amy Limpach November 10, 2008 11:18 am

    I just wanted to say you are a great writter
    and I love all your books!
    Amy Limpach

  15. Cheryl Kaye Tardif November 10, 2008 4:01 pm

    Your post on gratitude is very wise and oh so true, Danielle. Even after the murder of my younger brother Jason in 2006, I found small things to be grateful for.

    Within days after Jason’s death, we met friends of his. They made us grateful to know that Jason wasn’t alone, even though his life was troubled and we thought he was alone. He had a street family that loved him.

    When my husband and I went to clean out Jason’s room before my parents arrived from BC, I prayed that I’d find something meaningful for everyone in the family. His room was very small and he didn’t have much, but I was so grateful to see that he had left behind a gift for each of us.

    One of the first things I saw was a beat up copy of my novel Whale Song. It was the only book of mine he had read, and even when he moved a lot and spent time on the streets of Edmonton, Jason had kept my book. His friends told me he was proud of me. I am grateful to them for telling me something I had never known.

    Even when life has given me tragedy and death, I have been able to find something to be grateful for, and like you, it makes me want to acknowledge these things.

    My brother’s death taught me that there are always things to be grateful for; we just have to open our eyes and acknowledge them for what they are–gifts from the Universe.

    I am grateful to have grown up reading your lovely books and to have this chance to say Thank You for being you.

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author

  16. Farzad November 10, 2008 6:30 pm


    Very pleased to see you here in your personal blog.
    The first book of your works i’ve read was “The Long Road Home”.
    Just want to say thank you for all your great works.

    Farzad from Iran

  17. […] been enjoying Danielle Steel’s new blog immensely. This week she offers some advice on how to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling […]

  18. Reagan November 12, 2008 8:04 am

    Ms. Steel is right! I’d read about a “gratitude journal” about a year ago, and for a Lenten project last season, my teenage daughter and I made daily entries about the things for which we were most grateful. It worked great for our moods. However, I’d put it down over the past few months (getting caught up in the day-to-day rat race) and after reading this blog, decided to pick it back up again! What a fantastic way to realize all the beauty and wonder which surrounds us every day!
    Thanks for the kick in the pants to start writing in it again!

  19. Sharon Norwood November 16, 2008 4:40 pm

    Wow. Your words come to me at just the right moment! I’ve always known this logic, and have found it to be true many times myself. Lately, however, I have been caught up in my own troubles and disappointments, and have not been able to see past the trees. Thanks for showing me the forest again!

  20. Esse Bee November 22, 2008 4:50 am

    Your words are timely and full of joy. Why not write an inspirational book?

  21. ope November 30, 2008 3:07 am

    this is ope from nigeria, i think thats very well said or in this case written.Most times happiness comes when you take attention from yourself and take time to help others. This does not only makes you feel better,it also show you that you are not the only one with issues and most times that makes you to be grateful. So yeah, you are very right.

  22. Он December 10, 2008 7:35 am

    напишу и у себя в блоге

  23. J December 21, 2008 9:13 am

    gratitude is the greatest elixir and the secret to sustained lifelong happiness. In combination with helping others, there is no way for self centered thinking to creep in and ruin your day. Plus, it’s just a better way to live.

  24. Tonya Slaton December 22, 2008 9:17 pm

    I have truly enjoyed reading your “personal information” and see that your books hold some of your “personal information”. I sized you up before ever visiting your site. Your books are the best and I love you for them. Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to read your latest. As stated previously, thanks for blogging! Have a wonderful Christmas with your children!

  25. Quad January 18, 2009 1:37 pm

    amazing post))

  26. Oktra January 20, 2009 2:41 pm

    It’s difficult to understand..

  27. Best January 21, 2009 3:16 am

    So cool!

  28. Rima January 21, 2009 8:06 am

    Oh, t’s true, I know!

  29. Lady January 22, 2009 3:28 am

    Nice! I’ll ake similar post in my blog

  30. Lobby January 22, 2009 6:50 am

    such a nice story..