During this time of year, everyone talks of giving thanks. But one of the greatest gifts of the season, is taking the lesson of gratitude and finding ways to implement them into your everyday life. I’ll admit it. I can get so caught up with the rush of things that I can be neglectful of the gifts I’m given daily. But taking the time to express thanks and gratitude is one of the best ways to not only help create a world that is good, but create a sense of inner peace.
So how do you build the lessons of the season into a daily practice? There are small expressions of gratitude that can be worked into a daily ritual. Some of them take only a moment while others require a larger time commitment.
Here are my Expressions of Gratitude for 365 Days of Thanks
Expressing Gratitude to Others
There are all things you can do for someone else.
Hold open the door –
It only takes a few seconds to hold the door open for another. Small gestures of kindness can brighten someone’s day. Opening the door is a simple way of acknowledging another.
Donate your extras –
A cluttered home is never good. And one of the best parts of cleaning house is giving. Donate your old books to a library, that old dresser to Goodwill and have a clothing exchange with your friends.
Give compliments –
Spread positive energy into the world. Think about what you genuinely appreciate in others and then let them know. There are many people who are only used to hearing the negative. Surprise someone by telling them the positive.
Smile at others –
Smiles are contagious. And while nobody should be forced to cover up a bad mood with the facade of happiness, a genuine smile can really brighten another’s day. Smiles help us feel connected in an isolated world. So take a moment to smile and spread the cheer.
Donate blood or register to be a bone marrow donor –
The best part of this is that you can be put in a situation to save someone’s life. Donating blood is a simple process. Bone marrow is a bit more complicated. Doing either will increase the chance that a person in need will find a match.
Be a courteous driver –
Let someone in who needs to change lanes. Don’t beep at another driver just because you’re angry. Don’t cut someone off. If you wouldn’t treat someone in a certain way while face to face, don’t do it in your car. There is still a human being behind the wheel.
Give a positive review –
Have a business or a service provider that you love? Let the world know by singing their praises online. Not only will it give that business a well-deserved boost. It will help others discover something amazing.
Perform a random act of kindness –
Bring coffee with you go to your next appointment. Hand out lotto cards to those who’ve made your day brighter. Little acts of kindness are a wonderful expression of gratitude. Just the act of giving can make a person understand that they are valued.
Call someone in need –
Don’t just comment on someone’s Facebook status when they are going through a hard time. Surprise them with an actual phone call. We’ve all grown more isolated as social media has become a primary source of interaction. A phone call can provide connection and comfort for someone in need.
Leave a generous tip –
The difference between a lousy tip and a generous tip can often be just a few dollars. Show gratitude for service that exceeds expectation by surprising someone with a little extra. You’ll be a bright spot in someone’s day who was also a bright spot in yours.
Shout out the good things –
We see story after story about the bad actions of others. When someone treats you well or you witness something positive, share it. Heartwarming stories shouldn’t just be told during the holiday. They brighten people’s days all year round.
Expressing Gratitude to Ourselves
These are all things we can do for ourselves!
Quiet the negative –
Take a one week challenge of not saying anything negative about yourself. When you catch yourself in a negative thought, backtrack and start over by saying something positive. You can’t control the bullies in the world, but you can stop yourself from being one of them. Self-respect is one of the best forms of self-gratitude.
Schedule a date with yourself –
Take some time to do that thing you’ve been craving to do. Give yourself a manicure, take a bubble bath or just spend an hour or two reading that page turner that’s on your list.
Put sleep time into your calendar –
Once of the best ways to show gratitude to your own body is to schedule time for sleep. Sleep deprivation makes everything more difficult as well as damages your health. Set up alerts in your phone to remind you when it is time to wind down for sleep and follow-through with your intention.
Stress can take a horrible toll on your mind and body. Meditation is a wonderful way to quiet the chatter, let yourself relax and help yourself find comfort in just being where you are on any given day.
Journal the positives – Why deprive yourself of acknowledging all the good that has come your way? Writing down the good things can make them more real. So take some time during the day to mark down your gratitude for everything positive that has happened.
Eat 5 servings of vegetables daily –
Your body is your greatest asset. Without it, you wouldn’t exist. So demonstrate your gratitude by feeding it health promoting foods. That way your body can keep you alive and healthy for many years to come.
Create a home spa –
Take a bubble bath. Drink water with slices of orange and cucumber. Put a warm towel with a couple drops of lavender over your eyes. Let yourself know that it is ok to make yourself a priority and take the time to relax.
Spend time in nature –
We can start feeling so disconnected from ourselves from hours spent with our nose in technology. Help yourself become centered by spending an hour or two outside in nature. Build a snowman, jog or take a relaxing walk. Spending time outdoors can leave you rejuvenated and with a clearer mind.
Share your talents and passions with the world –
You’re naturally instilled with many gifts. One of the best ways to express gratitude for these gifts is to share them with the world. The world becomes better with everything you share.
The best part about expressing gratitude? It is good for your health as well as the health of those for which you are grateful. Have a favorite way to express your gratitude. Of course, let me know in the comments below.
Michele Harvey says
I agree that there is so much for which to be grateful, and, by showing and sharing our gratitude, we make both our lives better, as well as our world a better place. Gratitude changes our perceptions. Thank you for your wise, wonderful, and timely post.
I love how you say that gratitude changes our perceptions. I believe that to be so true.
The fact that I woke this morning is enough for me to be thankful, even before factoring in my health, food on the table, clothes on my back and a roof over my head.
Acts of kindness make others feel appreciated and valued. It also does us good to focus on others instead of our wants and needs.
We do take waking up in the morning for granted, Phoenicia. It really is a gift every day.
Great Tips Erica. I recently heard, and try to remind myself everyday, the following:
Gratitude should not be a reaction but a state of mind.
I loved that and your tips – be kind, do for others,(and yourself) etc. – really just extend that thought.
I do feel like we need reminders to be nice to ourselves sometimes – especially women. We can get so caught up in doing for others that we forget to do for ourselves.
Beth Niebuhr says
I really enjoyed this post. It is so easy to do many of the little things you suggested for making other people’s life a little brighter. We should always be filled with gratitude.
It would be a great world if everyone worked on gratitidue, wouldn’t it?
Express gratitude on a daily basis both to others and silently for what works out as planned.
At the moment I am, on top of everything else, teaching Syrian refugees Swedish and how Sweden as a country works. They are edcucated and successful people just like you and me who lost everything because of the war.
That must be really fulfilling to work with Syrian refugees. It is such an unfortunate situation so it must be wonderful to play a part in giving back to them.
Marquita Herald says
Wonderful list Erica and of course you are so right in that we have so much to be grateful for. In fact my mission this week is to say “Thank you” to the people I come in contact with day in and day out – the mailman, my favorite checker at the grocery store, the barista at my favorite coffee counter. It’s such a simple thing and yet so many people neglect to say it. Thanks for the inspiration!
That is a wonderful practice, Marquita. I was amazed when I worked in the service industry in school how many people didn’t say thank you. It only takes a moment to acknowledge another.
This post is just too good! While going through this post I was thinking that we both think in the same frequency.
Keep spreading positive energies.
Thanks for the kind words, Tuhin. Positive energy is good for the ones who spread it as well as the ones who receive it.
Jeannette Paladino says
It’s so important to express gratitude. What does it take to say a simple “thank you.” I’m especially grateful to the people in my life who have loved and supported me. Thanksgiving is a time to remember all the past kindnesses people have extended to me.
Thank you really is so easy to say, Jeannette. I’m glad you’re able to acknowledge the people in your life.
Donna Janke says
This is a wonderful post on gratitude. I love the suggestions about ways to show our gratitude to others. Actions speak louder than words! I also love the ways to show gratitude to ourselves, something we often don’t think of.
You are so right that actions speak louder than words. It isn’t what you say, but how you treat yourself and others.
Ken Dowell says
Nice post. Erica. The things you mention, even the simplest ones like holding a door for sometone, just makes the world a kinder, more accepting place. Ho how we could use that.
I agree, Ken, that if we all just took a few moments in our day for things like this, the world definitely would be kinder.
Sabrina Quairoli says
Great post, Erica! I love that you including to give gratitude to ourselves. That’s so important. I recently had an experience at the outlets near us. I was in a store and a person sneezed, my husband and I said “bless you” at the same time. And she turned around and said “thank you” and a few seconds later she said “that would never happen in Washington D.C.” (Where she was from.) we were so gratiful that we made someone feel good. It’s all about the small experiences that makes life worth it. Isn’t it?
Yes, it really is the little things like that, Sabrina. And nobody would acknowledge you when you sneezed when I lived in NYC as well. And it makes sense because there are so many people everywhere so it was hard to acknowledge everyone. But living there made me more aware of the value in little expressions of gratitude.
William Rusho says
If anything, I make sure I do one thing for the holidays, and that is reflect on, and be thankful for all the things in my live.
I have found people who are not appreciative for what they have, do not appreciate others, it seems both go hand in hand.
Thanks for sharing this post.
That is interesting, William. I imagine that is true. So showing appreciation to others may help you appreciate your own life as well.
l agree Erica, there is so much to be thankful for.
What an awesome post! thank you so much for sharing.
We need to be reminded from time to time to be thankful with everything that is happening in the world.
As far as there is life, there is hope.
Love it! life has so much meaning when we are thankful. I try to always see the good in a situation. I try to learn from my mistakes and that allows me to be thankful for the lesson. I will be printing your suggestion on how to be more compassionate with myself. :} thank you…I’m thankful for you my blogging friend :}
Hi, I once read a quote that says ” Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” loved your post. Thanks for sharing.
After many years of being a non-motorist I finally got a driver’s license about a year ago. Re your “Be a courteous driver” recommendation, I always try to drive within 5 mph of the speed limit and yield to pedestrians and other motorists as circumstances permit. If this bothers the legions of lead-foots on the roadways, too bad – they’ll just have to deal with it.
Glad to hear this Andy. There are so many crazy drivers these days.