Gratitude is defined as the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness and is considered one of the most commonly neglected emotions. Research related to gratitude has found that expressing and acknowledging gratitude improves quality of life and human well-being – which is why it is important to pay know how to show gratitude.
Here are four easy ways to add gratitude to your life:
keep a gratitude log
Every time it feels right: make a note of what you’re grateful for. Keep it in a journal, stick it on your mirror, make a blog post, and read it when you need a reminder of life’s blessings. This gives what you’re thankful for a moment of its own and validation by highlighting each thing or person you’re glad you experience. Perhaps, when you start making note of these items, you’ll begin to notice more of them.
take the time to participate in a meaningful way
Nothing says “I appreciate you,” more than an investment of your time. This act could be as simple as spending time with someone who needs someone to talk to or needs a hand. For example, I visit my grandmother who is house-bound two to three times a week. Some days I make her coffee, run an errand, bring her food she doesn’t have often, or simply spend time with her. It makes a positive difference in her day and brings me gratitude. Volunteer at a food bank, open your home to someone – or an animal who needs it, make yourself available for your friends, perform a random act of kindness.
make a meaningful donation
When participating in spring cleaning this year: take the time to ensure the clothes and other materials you are donating to a charity, shelter, or second hand store are clean. The people who sort the donations will appreciate the effort. Shoppers will appreciate the effort. The person purchasing your used item will appreciate the effort.
You can donate new items to a shelter. Shelters often are in need of non-food items such as: gloves, hats, socks, reusable bottles, feminine hygiene products, diapers for infants, sunscreen, and sewing supplies.
Consider a monetary donation to a charity or food bank of your choosing. Due to bulk food deals, foodbanks can get more food from your donation money compared to if you were to spend money at a store and donate your purchases. In addition to food costs, monetary donations support rent, electricity, and hydro payments for the operational spaces and may go towards providing services for food bank users.
pen, paper, envelope and a stamp
The most personal way to show appreciation and gratitude for someone else is with a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, and a stamp. A hand-written note in the mail is a great way to truly show gratitude for another person. Your cousin who brought you soup when you were sick, the coworker who picked you drove you to work while your car was being serviced, your friend who doesn’t judge you for always choosing Green Day for karaoke – a personal note will let them know you haven’t overlooked their kindness. The recipient will appreciate the time you took to put your feelings on the page and the effort you put in to mail it to them. I think there’s an added bonus of waiting for them to receive the package – and who doesn’t like receiving personalized mail?