Expressing gratitude is not always as simple as it may sound, and the benefits are far beyond what we may think. Watching Chloe explore her world each day reminds of just how much we often take for granted. There are so many things that we don’t think about until they become compromised in some way – breath, mobility, shelter, food, health, family and friends, just to name a few. When we take good care of ourselves, we don’t usually think to be grateful for our decisions, but we should be. It’s important to be grateful to those around us as well, and there are many ways to express our gratitude for others and ourselves. Here are three of them.
Words – A sincere and heartfelt thank you, whether verbal or written, can mean a lot to someone. It shows them that you recognize and appreciate them, which can powerfully impact his or her self worth. What’s more, a study by positive psychologists Adam M. Grant and Francesca Gino revealed that being thanked increased a person’s sense of social worth. This shows that taking the time to thank someone can have a major impact, not just on the people directly involved, but also on others who may come into contact with them. The next time you find yourself feeling grateful for something, write a thank you note. Do this when you are grateful for someone else and when you are grateful for yourself. Notice how it feels in each situation to write the note, and in the latter case, to receive it from yourself.
Actions – Another excellent way to express gratitude is to take it a step beyond words and move into action. You can express gratitude for a loved one by doing something that you know will reduce their stress, like cleaning up before a spouse gets home so they can enter into a clean house and relax and unwind from their day. Maybe you love to cook and you have a friend who would rather be anywhere but the kitchen – making them a home-cooked meal is a wonderful way to express your gratitude for their friendship and love. Whatever action you take, know that it will be appreciated by whoever receives it because it is heartfelt and personal.
Paying it forward – Have you seen the film Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment? It’s one of my favorites. The idea the film is based on is that of paying a good deed forward to three new people. When someone does something for you, you can of course thank them in any way that you wish, but then you take it beyond that. You find a way to help three more people out in some way – it can be as small as holding a door open with a smile for someone, or as big as you can dream. The point is, you are spreading the joy of gratitude to others. If all that happens is you brighter someone’s day a little more, you’ve done a lot. How can you pay it forward starting today?
Wishing you a season full of gratitude.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,