10 Ways to Show Gratitude
They say gratitude is the key to happiness. Here are 10 ways to put gratitude into practice.
According to a Harvard Health article, "In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships."
From personal experience, it's true! Gratitude is something that has truly elevated my mind and made me more resilient through feelings of burnout and seasonal depression. More importantly, having a grateful mindset has made me more positive and allows me to put everything into perspective. When you lead with gratitude your relationships become more positive, life feels brighter, and even the most significant obstacles seem small in the grand scheme of life.
Read my post on higher pleasures for the gratitude exercise that really made this way of thinking click for me. Keep reading for my personal favorite ways to show gratitude to others and to yourself.
1. Say "thank you" often
Say thank you to everyone in your life! Often! When your partner takes out the trash, when your kid grabs the mail, when your employees do anything, show your gratitude by saying thank you! To make it more meaningful for both you and the other party, accompany the "thanks" with what the alternative would have been. "Oh, you grabbed the trash, thanks! If it was left to me I would have missed the garbage truck so I really appreciate that." So simple, and yet insanely meaningful.
I find this especially positive in work environments. My favorite bosses/managers/supervisors have been the ones that thank me simply for doing my job. Being thanked, even if it's for doing the bare minimum, makes anyone feel valued.
2. Thank you cards
One thing about me? I'm going to write you a card for every occasion! As a words of affirmation gal, I love writing sweet messages for friends and family on any occasion! In an age of text messages and dms, sending a card with a handwritten thoughtful message is a gesture that people really treasure. I recommend stocking up on cute or funny cards when you're out and about so that you have a stash to pull from whenever. My favorite place to get cards is from Typo!
Another oldie but goodie. Receiving flowers is a small but meaningful gesture that brightens anyone's day. And being able to keep them somewhere in your home means that every time you pass them you think about the person that sent them to you. I recommend taking a mental note whenever your friends mention their favorite flowers or simply search for ones that are particularly fragrant.
4. When you think of someone let them know
Some time ago Adrienne Bailon talked about lessons she learned from her husband on her youtube channel and this one stuck with me. When you think of someone -- "oh I wonder how she's doing...", "my bestie would love this", etc -- text them right then and there to let them know. As you get older, and you make more and more friends from all over the country (if not the world) it gets harder to keep up with everyone. You have to be intentional about nurturing relationships and this is a great way to show your friends that you're genuinely thinking about them.
5. Pay it forward
When you feel grateful for all you have in life, you should want to pay it forward. Donate to causes where you can, give people the same positivity the world shows you, wish the best for others, and be generous when the opportunity presents itself. Good exists in abundance in this life, and each and every one of us can be its agent. I've said this many times, the world literally runs on those small acts of kindness.
6. Give your body what it needs
How lucky are we that have bodies that get us to and fro, and give us the means to pursue the world in various ways? When you're grateful to have something you treat it with respect. Drink your water, meditate, do your skincare routine, take mental health days, eat your veggies, and all that. Our bodies are strong but perishable. Since you only get one, it's one of the most valuable things you have.
7. Remember that life affords you higher pleasures
You could have been born as anything, anywhere in the universe. Instead, you are you. And that is a great feat of luck. Be grateful you are a human who has more to life than most other creatures. Be grateful to be in what position you are in because there is someone somewhere in the world who would kill to be you even on your worst days. I have a whole post on higher pleasures if you want to learn more about where I got this from!
8. Help when you can
Lead with a "how can I help?" mindset. This is something my Bajan heritage has really shown me the benefits of. My Bajan friends and family are the most hospitable and best company I've ever met. If you invite them to a party they will ask to help set up, help clean up, help cook, run errands for you, etc. It has always made me feel loved so deeply.
Try to emulate this as much as you can by doing the above, or just by offering a listening ear or shoulder to cry on.
9. Celebrate others' joy
Be the person who feels genuine happiness when others are happy. When it comes to the people I love, their struggles are my struggles and their joys are my joys too. Imagine how much happier you could be if you allowed yourself to vicariously feel joy when others are joyed.
10. Give people grace and assume the best
View everyone as an end within themselves who has a life that is just as complex as yours. Try your absolute best to always assume the best of people. It will make you more forbearing and others will come to appreciate the grace you give them.
At the end of the day, there is so much meddling and complexity in the world but your mindset is a simple choice. Choose to turn your face in the direction of the sun, and the shadows will always fall behind you. Focus on the good and good will come back to you tenfold.
I hope you found this useful and positive! If you did, you'll likely enjoy the posts below too. Give them a read and let me know what you think!