“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher
Philosophers and poets have long praised gratitude as one of the most desirable attitudes. Surely, each of us has much to be thankful for. Why not express our gratitude? It costs us nothing, yet yields countless benefits. Looking for ways to show and acknowledge gratitude? Here are 10 to try that are simple, quick and easy.
1. Say a kind word.
The quickest, simplest and easiest way to demonstrate gratitude is to say thanks to another. If you don’t have a specific item to express thanks for, saying a few kind words is just as effective. Kind words earnestly spoken are like healing balm to a troubled soul. They work equally well for those who are stressed, feel unappreciated, are lonely, ill, tired or just a bit anxious or depressed. Besides, don’t you feel a little better when someone has a kind thing to say to you?
2. Include others in your plans.
Chances are you know someone who’s alone or lonely, maybe just someone who could use some time away from being a caregiver for a loved one. What extra would it take for you to invite that individual to accompany you on an outing, to share a coffee or beverage at a nearby restaurant, take in a movie, or go for a walk? When you include others in your plans, it lets them know you’re thinking about them and value their friendship. It’s also an effortless way to express your gratitude.
3. Listen intently.
I know I’m guilty of sometimes thinking so hard about what I’m about to say next that I fail to grasp the essence of what another person is saying. That’s a common trait that can be corrected, although it takes effort and practice. When I stop editing my next comments and listen actively and intently to the other person, and show by my body language that I’m in the moment in their conversation, it shows I respect and appreciate them. This is a lesson each of us must learn.
4. Bring over lunch.
Preparing meals, especially if you’re overworked and chronically stressed, is often akin to a dreaded chore. Don’t you know someone who’d be delighted if you’d surprise them with a tasty lunch? Maybe it’s a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend or loved one who could use a little lift that you can easily bring with an inexpensive lunch. What a wonderful way to show your gratitude for all this person means to you.
5. Pay an impromptu visit.
How often have you heard others welcome you to drop by and pay them a visit? If the comment is genuinely expressed, pay heed. This is a subtle invitation to spend some time with that individual. They’re asking you to come over. When you do, even if it’s a quick visit on your home from work or church or shopping, it lets that person know you care – and listened to their previous offer.
6. Email to check in.
If you’re busy and can’t take the time for an in-person visit, there’s always email. Dash off a thoughtfully worded communication to let another person know he or she is in your thoughts. Add some entertaining or informative items to round out the note.
7. Call to say hello.
I love to hear a loved one’s voice on the phone. It’s much more personal than an email, although it doesn’t take the place of a physical visit. You’d be surprised how satisfying a call can be. It is a quickly-handled way to say hello – and will be much appreciated by the recipient. Even if you both are short on time, the exchange of pleasantries stimulates a sense of well-being.
8. Ask if there’s anything you can do.
Like most people, I don’t like having to ask others for help. That’s something that was instilled in me as a child, to be self-sufficient and do things for myself. Sometimes, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the things on your to-do list. Since we all feel this way, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help – and mean to follow up on your offer if it’s accepted.
9. Pick flowers from your garden and deliver to a friend.
A bright bouquet of flowers is a cheery way to express your gratitude. They don’t call them “Thank You” bouquets for nothing. Yet, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to show someone how much you appreciate them. Pick some blooms from your garden and take them to a deserving friend. Their smile of appreciation will say it all.
10. Offer to do an errand, help with chores.
When I was raising my children, there never seemed to be enough time to get everything done. Laundry, preparing school lunches, setting out clothes for them to wear the next day, making sure their homework was done and many more parental responsibilities ate up whatever spare time I had. I would have loved to take a friend up on an offer to run an errand for me, or to help me sort laundry or clean cluttered kids’ bedrooms. Sadly, I didn’t have anyone around to help, although I’m keenly aware of how much appreciated such assistance would be to an overworked mom. For that reason, if I have an opportunity today, I offer to help someone else that I care about. It doesn’t have to be housework, either. Helping a co-worker with a project, volunteering, taking a family member’s kids to the park all count, too.
In addition to expressing your gratitude and making someone else feel better, you’re likewise reaping benefits from your words and actions. Consider gratitude a virtue, for it’s a trait unique to our species.