Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year. Families and friends come together, prepare a home-cooked meal, and take a moment to think of all the things they’re thankful for. But why wait till the fourth Thursday in November to show your gratitude? Why not make this a season of thanksgiving? If you’re wondering how to show thankfulness, scroll down for some helpful hints.
How to Show Thankfulness
Showing gratitude benefits the world in numerous ways. According to researchers, it boosts the happiness of the giver and the receiver, it brings people together, it fosters positive emotions, and it helps people look outside themselves and connect with other things (other people, a community, nature, a higher power). If you aren’t sure how to show thankfulness in your everyday life, check out these ideas:
Write a thank-you note.
If you want to tell someone that you’re thankful for something they’ve done, consider sending a thank-you note. You can tell the person how much you appreciate the impact they’ve made on your life. If this is someone you’re close to (or hoping to be closer t0), the note may help nurture your relationship. You may already send thank-you notes after you receive gifts, but try to get in the habit of sending one per month “just because.” Or why not write a thank-you note to yourself? Every once in a while, give yourself a little pat on the back.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Research has demonstrated that gratitude journaling could lower your risk of heart disease and lower symptoms of depression. All you need to do is write down things you’re grateful for each day. Make it a daily habit to pull out your journal and “count your blessings.” Although most people keep their lists private, feel free to share your list with friends and family to spread the spirit of gratitude.
Mentally thank someone.
This may sound silly, but if you don’t have the time or resources to thank someone verbally or with a physical note or gift, mentally thank them. Just take a moment to think about the lovely thing that person did and how grateful you are. If this is someone you see frequently, you could share the message with them later. But even if you don’t, mentally thanking someone can boost your mood and help you recognize how good and kind your fellow humans can be.
Offer to do something for someone.
If someone has made an impact on your life, why not try to make an impact on theirs? Offer to do something kind and helpful for them. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture; it just needs to make their life a little easier or happier. For example, you could make your sister dinner, scrape the ice off your neighbor’s car, or wash the dishes after a friend hosts a party.
Surprise someone with kindness.
This is clearly very similar to the last suggestion, but the element of surprise can make a huge difference, especially if the person isn’t comfortable receiving gifts, praise, or help. You could wake up early and prepare breakfast for your spouse or scratch a tedious chore off your friend’s to-do list. Your thoughtfulness will surely be appreciated.
Acknowledge someone publicly.
Depending on the person and situation (someone who’s quite shy may dread the attention), you might consider acknowledging someone publicly to show your gratitude. You could toast to them at dinner, write a story about them for a small paper or newsletter, or present them with a gift at a social function. This is often a great way to acknowledge someone who helps a large number of people, such as a teacher, a community coordinator, a custodian, or even a grandparent.
Volunteer your time.
Volunteering is an excellent way to express your gratitude for your community. If you’ve felt supported and uplifted by the people in your community, why not pay it forward by helping others? You could select a worthy organization that reflects your interests or your reasons for being grateful. For example, if you’re grateful for the warmth and love provided by dogs, consider volunteering at a dog rescue. If you’re grateful for your education and kind teachers, consider volunteering at a school.
Once you know how to show thankfulness, express your gratitude often and encourage those around you to do the same. Thanksgiving is a great reminder to be thankful, but it shouldn’t be the only day of the year that we express our gratitude.
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