Are you truly grateful for the good things in your life?
Expressing gratitude is a way of giving thanks. Research from the Center for Greater Good suggests that gratitude may be associated with many benefits including better physical and psychological health, and an increase in happiness and life satisfaction. It can also strengthen relationships of all kinds.
With so many benefits, why not actively practice more gratitude? Here are several different ideas on how to build your gratitude muscle so that you can enjoy the benefits.
Plan a gratitude gathering.
Invite over family and friends and take a few minutes for people to share a quick appreciation. To take it to the next level, have members of the gathering sit one at a time in a “hot seat.” Everyone else tells the person in the hot seat why they appreciate them and expresses gratitude for their work and any help or kindnesses recently given.
Write a thank you note.
Writing a little thank you note of two or three sentences is a thoughtful way to show appreciation. This can also include writing a thank you note to your past self to express your gratitude for choices you’ve made, or actions you’ve taken and for how far you’ve come. Or you might write a thank you note for your body to express gratitude for all that your body does for you day in and day out.
What is a community organization or nonprofit that you’re glad exists? Reach out to let them know and also make a plan to volunteer or make a donation for them to express your gratitude for what they contribute to the community.
Take a photo.
If you are a visual person or not into writing a gratitude journal, take a photo every day of something you’re grateful for.
Compliment the chef.
In your daily transactions with cashiers, baristas and others, take the time to look them in the eye and really thank them. Give your compliments to the chef by writing a five star review for the restaurant where you had an excellent meal. If it was homemade, send a thank you note to the person who made it.
Let others know how to express their gratitude for you.
Be honest about the thanks you’d like to hear from the people in your life and let them know. Try this out with the people you’re closest to. While you’re telling them what you want to hear, be sure to ask them what they’ve wanted you to say to them. Think about the 5 Love Languages and how you and others like to feel cared for. (Don’t know your Love Language? Take this free online quiz as a way to prompt the conversation.)
Appreciate the most influential people from your past.
Who is one person who has made a positive difference in your life? How have they impacted you? Extend your favorite expression of gratitude to someone who’s been on your mind or was influential at some point in your life.
Forgive yourself for a past mistake and celebrate how that put you on a different path than what you might have planned for if that “mistake” hadn’t happened.
SO… Are you truly grateful for the good things in your life—or do you take them for granted? How grateful are you? Take this free quiz from the Center for Greater Good if you’d like a tool to reflect.
Gratitude can take many forms and it has a reputation for encouraging other positive virtues such as patience, wisdom and humility while having a role as inspiration for people to be more generous, kind, and helpful.