"A heart of gratitude is the foundation for a positive attitude."
The month of November reminds us of being thankful and giving thanks. This is partly due to the Thanksgiving holiday reoccurring every year on the fourth Thursday of this month. In the midst of preparing for Thanksgiving, we wanted to take a short moment and share a few ways to express gratitude.
1. Volunteer or Give Back
One way to express gratitude is to give back or volunteer your time. We recommend doing this periodically throughout the year to maximize the benefits of giving back to someone else. The opportunities to volunteer or give back are endless, including tutoring, reading to school-age children, helping out at a senior citizen facility, and more.
2. Connect With Loved Ones
This is not limited to just family, but close friends as well. Being intentional in connecting with them is a way to show how much you appreciate them. Time is fleeting and important; how you choose to use it reveals what you truly value. What better way to show your loved ones that you value them than to spend quality time with them?
A few ideas if you are connecting with loved ones: Game Night, Girl's Night, Guy's Night, Movie Night, Friend-cation (a vacation with friends), or just simply showing up and providing your undivided attention and support.
3. Saying Kind Words
Our words hold weight, whether we are saying them to ourselves or to someone else. You may not always know or understand what someone else is experiencing, but a kind word can really make their day. The kind words that you speak can help to inspire others and give them hope.
A few examples of kind words might be: "You're so beautiful the way you are", "You are really smart", "You are strong", "I'm fortunate to know you", and so on.
"How you choose to use [your time] reveals what you truly value."
4. Thoughtful Gifts
Sometimes you need to do a little bit more than just say how appreciative or grateful you are. It is also good to show that you are appreciative or grateful. One way to do that is to give thoughtful gifts. Buying or giving thoughtful gifts that fit the intended recipient show that you have paid attention and that you care for them.
Thoughtful gifts will vary. To read more about doing something meaningful, check out #2 under this post.
5. Heartfelt Thanks
Saying "thank you" is sometimes so automatic and without much thought. If you sneeze and someone says, "God bless you", you usually respond with "Thank you". It's like second nature. When wanting to express gratitude, it is important to put your heart into it. That's how others will know that you mean it and it's not just some mechanical response.
We can definitely provide examples of heartfelt thanks, but when you use them they won't necessarily be heartfelt. Listen to your own heart and mind and see how best you can transform what you're feeling and thinking into words. You can even write them out first if you need to.
Although we are only highlighting five ways to express gratitude, we thought these were worth mentioning: cooking a person's favorite meal, paying for someone's meal, making someone laugh or smile, practicing gratitude daily, sharing positive memories, write something nice, babysitting, or checking on someone when they cross your mind.
Regardless of how you choose to express gratitude, you will benefit from doing so. Showing gratitude improves your own mood, which increases the likelihood that you continue to show gratitude. This Thanksgiving holiday, take some time out to think about all that you are grateful for. Make plans to have gratitude a part of your daily life. Remember, a heart of gratitude is a foundation for a positive attitude.
Bree Vanley is the CEO of Heart Matters Therapy, PLLC. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Arkansas and Texas, who focuses primarily on anxiety, grief, and trauma. She is committed to helping others become mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally healthy. For more information, please click here.