How do you express gratitude?
Gratitude is being grateful and thankful for something. It’s showing appreciation for kindness you receive, and reciprocating that kindness to others.
Gratitude is an emotion, personality trait and mood. And many people believe it’s the key to happiness and stress free living.
The interesting thing is that the effects of gratitude are felt by both the giver and the receiver.
Don’t believe me?
Well it’s scientifically proven that gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. That’s just the tip of a rather huge iceberg, and we haven’t even talked about what it does to the receiver.
When you express gratitude for a good deed someone has done for you, it boosts their self-esteem and morale. They know that you truly appreciate what you’ve done for them, and that they’ve made a positive impact in someone else’s life.
One reason why so many people are constantly trying to unlock the power of gratitude is because we’re accustom to living in a fast-paced world. Things move so quickly it’s easy to overlook or downplay when something positive happens.
That person that held the door open for you. The coworker who came in a little early to relieve you from your shift. The restaurant owner who memorizes your order and gives you excellent service.
On the flipside, you probably have a mental rolodex of all the bad things that happened to you yesterday. The guilt of not being thankful or grateful starts to eat away at you until one day you wake up and realize, “I’m really ungrateful.” And then you decide it’s time to make a change.
Ok, so you know that gratitude can make you happier, less stressed, more optimistic and more well liked. The question is, how can you show gratitude throughout your life to reap the benefits?
Here’s how to express gratitude:
1. Just Simply Say It
Why not start with the basics? Saying a simple thank you is the easiest way to express gratitude.
But for some people, it isn’t that simple.
If that phrase sounds foreign in your mouth, best practice a bit in the mirror. Theres nothing worse than choking on a thank you.
It not only offends the recipient, but it’s also very traumatizing to a first timer. However, if you nail saying it in the first round, you’re a natural so just keep at it.
Your problem will be working on always remembering to say it.
When you start learning how to say thank you (yes it’s a learning process) it’s only natural to get a bit tongue tied. You could always write it down. So whenever someone does something for you (in the beginning you probably think that’s the only time you need to show gratitude) write it down immediately.
It could be a way of stacking up thank you’s till you have the courage to say it.
One day, you’ll find yourself saying it out loud without even thinking of writing it down.
The writing serves as a sort of mental practice. The look on the persons face when you finally do, will be well worth all your writing.
2. Write Thank-You Notes
This is a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg? In my case, the writing came first.
However, you might feel you need to verbally show your appreciation and gratitude before you go around sending notes.
Writing down an appreciation note not only shows the person you took your time to think about them. It also gives them a permanent record of how much you value their input in your life.
The form of these notes will take is up to you.
You might decide to go the monotonous way and just write ‘thank you’ on a small card and sign it.
Some people prefer writing letters to detail just how much they appreciate the recipient.
Others add a bit of detail to the ‘thank you’ by writing a side note on what exactly they’re appreciating the person for.
A creative and unique way to write a gratitude note to someone is with these little Words of Appreciation cards we found on Amazon. The front has words of appreciation in artsy fonts, and the inside is blank so you can write a personalized note!
When you write yours, the best way to do it is just add a small detail of what the person has done. It’ll help you remember the moment and exactly what you felt at the time. Hand-written gratitude notes are more personal and appreciated.
3. Give Out Hugs
Taking into account that not everyone is great with words, appreciation can be physical too.
If you’re a hugger, then show someone gratitude by hugging them. Just take care to differentiate a normal hug from a “thank you” hug.
The whole point is to show this person how valued they are in your life. Work on that technique so that people around you can differentiate the hugs and understand just what you mean.
I’m not a big hugger, but even I know hugs can be specialized to feel a certain way. Hug a person and let the appreciation flow through you.
Just make sure they’re open to a hug. Hugging a coworker that you don’t know very well might come off as inappropriate. So try to gauge the situation and relationship before squeezing them!
4. Do Something Thoughtful
Actions ultimately speak louder than words.
When you were writing your thank you notes, you probably had a contingency plan (just incase you never got the courage to say it). You probably figured you could also do something in return to make them feel the same way you did.
Being thoughtful to another person’s needs and surprising them feels amazing. Seeing that spark of pleasure in someone’s eyes is a great feeling.
You’ll have done your good deed, appreciated someone and made both of you happy in the end. You can never go wrong with a doing something thoughtful. Even throwing in a random compliment works wonders.
As you’ll come to realize, gratitude and appreciation aren’t only given when you’ve been served. It can also be a testament of how much you love life and everything it’s offered you. Doing something thoughtful, even for a total stranger makes you a happier person.
See someone struggling to carry bags of groceries to their car? Go over and help them out. It’ll only take you a few minutes, but it’ll make your whole day brighter.
Knowing you went out of your way to just be thoughtful.
5. Give Back to The Community
Embracing gratitude when you’re down in the dumps isn’t always easy. Now think of all the people who are unfortunately facing a rough patch in their life.
Sharing your time and resources with the homeless and the shelters around you gives you a renewed appreciation of life. Serving others and seeing the fruits of your effort bloom in someone’s smile is tryly uplifting.
This type of kindness always goes to shape someone’s future. You can make a significant impact on someone’s life just by dedicating a few hours a week to serve others.
Taking care of your surrounding is also a great way to give back. Pick litter around your neighborhood, recycle, or invest in biodegradables.
It gives you a sense of purpose and you’re ultimately making your world a better place. And that’s one of the most powerful ways to express gratitude there is.
6. Journal Your Thoughts
Gratitude doesn’t have to always be expressed externally to others. Gratitude is also internal.
At the end of the day, after a long day full of activity, take a moment to write down what you appreciated the most from the day. Your writing will help you remember the precise moment and the feelings you felt.
Journaling helps you keep a permanent record and serves as a reminder of all the things you should be grateful for.
It also serves as a record of all the positive feelings you got. On days when you’re feeling down, you can open your gratitude journal and just go through it. I assure you that your spirits will be lifted in no time.
Journals are timeless and will always be there to show you that theres much more to look forward to in life. Heck, even Oprah uses one!
If you’re new to the world of journaling, a good way to start is with a guided journal. Instead of looking at a bunch of blank pages with lines, guided journals have prompts for you fill out so you’re not starting from scratch. Here’s one of our favorites from Pretty Simple Journals.
Expressing gratitude has many health benefits. They range from reducing toxic emotions to improving self-esteem.
Being a grateful person helps you create new relationships and strengthen the ones you’re in. It gives you a new appreciation for life, taking nothing for granted. It strengthens your positive emotions, making you a better person. It opens your eyes to see the bigger picture, making you aware of the feelings of those around you.
I could go on with all the great things gratitude would add to your life. All this caused by acknowledging the phrase ‘thank you’ and integrating it into your life. Try out the phrase today, you’ll see the change in people around you almost immediately.