Ideally, we would always benevolently and sincerely express our appreciation to our fellow humans. In truth, we are now entering the one time of year when we tend to do it more diligently.
Now that we're getting into the Thanksgiving spirit, it's the perfect time to practice expressing your gratitude to your loved one or loved ones! Whether it's appreciating your significant other's contributions to your well-being or modeling thankfulness for your children, gratefulness is a practice that takes effort and pays off.
Here are 7 ways you can show gratitude to those around you this Thanksgiving season and any other time of the year:
1) Try thanking your loved one for a totally ordinary, usually unnoticed chore that contributes to your life in some way. Thank them sincerely for making the morning coffee, making the bed, or driving the kids to school. Try saying "thank you" for taking out the trash or doing the laundry, rather than just nagging them about it and then not acknowledging when they do it. Take a moment and be specific. For example, "Wow, I really needed this coffee today. Thanks for having it ready!" or "Thanks for doing the dishes last night! The kitchen was so nice to come into in the morning."
2) Thank your kids for doing their homework or their chores. They will feel empowered and appreciated for their effort and more like a valued contributor to the family dynamic. Maybe it will even inspire them to do more!
3) Think back to your growing up years - or even the recent past (if those are the same, great!) and find something that your parents or guardians did for you. It can be big or small, but take a moment to thank them for it! Caregivers can never get too much appreciation, but we often take their care for granted.
4) Write it down. Saying thank you in person is great. It's a special treat, however, to get a handwritten note unexpectedly appreciating your efforts. It doesn't have to be fancy or long. You can pick out a blank card, or even just write a quick note on a post-it! I still remember a wonderful moment when my husband left me a random little note of thanks on my desk, with no special occasion. Now I try to do the same once in a while!
5) Send your thank you in a postcard. Unlike a regular thank you card, a cool postcard can be treasured and displayed. I have a whole box of them that I've hoarded over the years. Some postcards come from interesting places, but you can also find postcards with art prints or pop culture references on them. Have fun with it!
6) This one might feel a little bit weird. Write a thank you note to yourself! It is a wonderful thing to help others without looking for affirmation from anyone. But that doesn't mean you can't pat yourself on the back! Take a few minutes to meditatively appreciate yourself, or write yourself a little note saying "Thanks for being you!" You could even hide it somewhere you'll find it later. A moderate, healthy amount of self-love frees our minds from self-centered doubts so that we can focus on appreciating the beauty of others!
7) Give some positive payback. Instead of only saying thank you, try expressing your appreciation with actions. Do something helpful or kind for your loved one so that they, too, can feel the happiness they have gifted to you!
What are some ways you show gratitude in everyday life?