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7 Ways to Show Gratitude and Live a Better Life

Intended Audience: People who want to improve their life and mindset

Gratitude is more than a passing feeling you have when something goes your way or you get a gift. When it becomes a regular part of your day, it’s a mindset shift that can improve your whole life.

It isn’t always easy to be grateful, especially when you feel like life is trying to knock you down. But when you can find the proverbial silver lining in most things, it’s easier to face the obstacles in your way.

Focusing on thankfulness and developing an “attitude of gratitude” takes practice and focus. You can show gratitude as you grow your mindset in little ways. Use these seven examples as you learn the ropes, and watch how quickly your life improves!

1. Write a Letter (or an Email)

Think about how you felt the last time someone unexpectedly sent you a note of appreciation. It was a simple gesture that didn’t cost them much at all, but it was valuable to you. Whether it was an email or a physical letter, the good feeling you got from being noticed and recognized stayed with you.

You can pass this feeling of admiration on to someone else and continue a ripple effect of gratitude. Handwritten thank-you notes are almost obsolete now, but they shouldn’t be. They’re a traditional method of thanking someone for their kindness.

If you prefer the technological route, emails or social media messages work, too. There is no wrong way to express gratitude to someone.

Writing a thank-you message is an easy, five-minute task for you. For them, it could last a lifetime.

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2. Volunteer for the Little Things 

Have you ever had a day when nothing horrible happened, but that one little thing you forgot to do was like the straw that broke your back? 

It’s easy to focus on our mistakes instead of the hundreds of small tasks we accomplish from the time we wake up until we fall asleep at night. You’re not the only one beating yourself up over things you missed. 

Sometimes, it’s those little things that add up to a really stressful day. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a personal assistant to handle those basic but time-consuming tasks?

You might not have a PA, but you can be that person for others when you have a few extra minutes. Show your gratitude for a friend or co-worker by stepping in to help them in their time of need. 

If you know they’re struggling a bit extra one day, volunteer to help them with something on their to-do list. You might be taking the straw away that would’ve broken their back.

3. Offer Motivation When it’s Needed 

When you see someone about to attempt something new or hitting some waves in their life, a little word of encouragement can get them motivated. Try to avoid the cliches, like “This too shall pass!” Yes, it will, but that doesn’t help someone in the midst of a struggle.

Instead, help them to see that they’re not alone. You are grateful for them and you see them trying. Sometimes that is all that is necessary to push someone forward.

Even if you’re in a funk, try giving someone else encouragement. It’s psychologically proven that helping others makes us feel better. When you don’t feel like being motivational, that’s when you should do it anyway. You can pull yourself out of your own bad mood!

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4. Start a Gratitude Journal 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it helps to make a mental list of things to be grateful for. But putting your thoughts on paper has a way of taking even the most jumbled, confusing worries and turning them into something less scary.

Mental health experts recommend journaling as a coping strategy. Emotions are messy and complicated when they float around your head. Writing them down requires rational thought, which allows you to get a handle on your feelings and approach them with more clarity.

A gratitude journal takes this method one step further. It’s a dedicated space for you to remind yourself of all the things you should be thankful for. You can go back to it when you’re feeling down and remember the good things in your life.

5. Give Recognition for Good Business

So many people are quick to jump on social media and complain when they get bad service. Scathing reviews are quickly followed and engaged in, but it takes a lot of positive feedback to make up for the damage done by one irate customer.

Businesses can be severely impacted by these negative complaints, although the problem might have been a one-off. Even if they step in and take control of the issue, it’s not always enough to save their reputation.

Taking a minute to give a shout-out for a favorable interaction means a lot, especially to a small business owner. Word-of-mouth recommendations and good online reviews are like gold!

6. Pay It Forward

You don’t have to have received an anonymous coffee or had the person in front of you pay for your fast food meal to pay it forward. You can start the movement yourself!

Random acts of kindness have a butterfly effect that spreads exponentially. You never know how your small gesture will set off a ripple of other actions and help someone in need.

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If you’d like to start a stream of kind actions, try paying it forward in one of these simple but powerful ways:

  • Give a random compliment to someone you pass on the street.
  • Send a “thinking of you” text with a positive thought.
  • Donate a bag of dog or cat food to your local shelter.
  • Double your normal tip to your server.
  • Take some donuts to an overworked business.
  • Leave a gift card or small treat in your mailbox for your carrier.

If the idea crosses your mind and makes your heart smile, do it! Don’t worry about how it can help you — just go ahead and start a movement.

7. Give a “Just Because” Gift

You’ve heard the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive.” We don’t quite recognize this as truth when we’re kids, but as we get older, it becomes more accurate. 

There’s a scientific reason behind this: as children, we don’t understand the significance behind a gift and the effort involved. 

The older we get, the more valuable our time and money become. Subconsciously, we don’t see it as receiving a gift as much as we see the thought behind it.

According to studies, people feel better when they can spend money on others by giving them gifts. It makes the recipient happy, which, in turn, boosts your own gratitude. 

Put some effort and thought into the right gift, and give yourself and someone else a good feeling.

Conclusion

As you make acts of gratitude a normal part of your day, they’ll become habits instead. Over time, the ability to choose the thankful path will help you overcome obstacles and live a better life!

Author

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Reserve at Carrollton to help them with their online marketing.

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