Last week we looked at the positive effects of expressing gratitude so this week we’re going to be looking at the more practical side of how we can actually express gratitude. Here are my top ten tips:
1. Write in a gratitude journal every day
This is a beautiful one that is filled with inspirational quotes and plenty of space for you to write your own thoughts (and free postage worldwide!)
Choose a time of day that works for you. For some this is first thing in the morning. For others it is just before they go to sleep. Write down what you are grateful for that day-anything from waking up full of energy and healthy, seeing your dog when you got home from work or thankful that the washing machine repair man came and you no longer had to visit the laundromat!
2. Compliment a stranger
Tell a complete stranger how beautiful they look/how much you love what they are wearing. Make it genuine. There is nothing better than seeing the delight on someone’s face when you do this. We all walk our own path and we have no idea what the person next to us in the shopping queue might be going through. Make someone smile today.
3. Start a gratitude jar
This is one of my favourites that we do in our family. At the start of the year get a jar, and a small note pad/pens. Every time you are grateful for an occasion/event etc. write it on the piece of paper and place it in the jar. Open all the notes at the end of the year. We make a celebration of this and stick the notes onto a piece of cardboard that we can reflect back on.
4. Thank you letter
Write a thank you letter to someone who has had a big impact on your life and that you never thanked properly. Even if this person is no longer alive, you can still do this.
5. Learn lessons from past experiences
When things don’t go as planned, ask yourself what you learnt from that situation and what can be done differently next time. Things don’t always turn out the way you expect, but often there is a blessing and a lesson in there. And remember that nothing goes away until it teaches us something AND we learn from it. So if the same thing keeps happening to you, ask yourself why. I promise, it will just comeback louder and stronger until you sit up and take note! Trust me-it only happened to me recently but it’s been the biggest blessing to learn from.
6. Genuinely compliment
Next time you go out to eat, genuinely compliment the person that served you, the chef or the café/restaurant owner. Genuine feedback is always really appreciated and makes everyone feel good!
7. Pick up the telephone
Call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Tell them how much you miss them. How much they mean to you. Nowadays we shoot off quick messages on Facebook or SMS. Make the effort to still talk with people, on the phone or face to face and show them that you care.
8. Stop complaining!
See how long you can go without complaining. Watch the way that the energy shifts in your body and how your mindset changes.
Some of the happiest times in my life is when I have been giving selflessly to organisations that matter to me. This doesn’t mean you need a 12 month gap year or lots of money. It could mean collecting gifts from friends at Christmas for the local dog’s shelter or women’s refuge. Think about what resonates with you and see how much time you can dedicate to help make a change in someone else’s life.
10. Verbally express gratitude
This is great to do as a family. Sit down over breakfast or dinner and take it in turns to discuss what you are thankful for. Otherwise, do this with a friend during your lunch break. Verbalising gratitude can have a very powerful effect.
So here are my top ten ways to express gratitude. Choose what resonates with you and see if you can establish a daily routine. If we can achieve better health and happiness through these activities, why wouldn’t we?