7 Ways to Express More Gratitude
Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone and I hope you all enjoyed love from family & friends. Thanksgiving is definitely my favourite holiday. Mostly because I absolutely love a good meal and expressing gratitude. As much as spending time with family can be exhausting and a bit overwhelming at times (Queue my favourite holiday movie: Home for the Holidays) I love how thanksgiving encourages us to look at all the good that exists in our lives and appreciate the heck out of it for a whole weekend.
Thinking about all the things I am grateful for this year has made me think about how gratitude is a feeling that is not as easily expressed as others. When I am feeling happy, I smile and have lots of energy, when I am feeling sad or lonely I tend to cry, or call a girlfriend to talk about my feelings. But gratitude is simply a feeling, with not many physical expressions. Which is such a shame!! Because gratitude is one of the most powerful feelings! Feeling thankful can give us perspective, make us kinder, less-selfish people, and increase happiness, and yet we struggle to express it as regularly as we express annoyance or boredom.
This thought of gratitude being a tough-to-express emotion with SO many benefits had me brainstorming some ways to express more gratitude in our day-to-day lives. See how many of these you do in a day, and how many you could integrate easily to bring more gratitude into your life!
Text Someone You Love
This may seem small or too easy, but expressing gratitude is not about grand gestures! It is about acknowledging the blessings in your life and showing how thankful you are for them. I try to make a point to send a text to someone in my life once a week (working on making it once a day) that tells them how much I care about them. Sometimes I text my mom telling her I love her and that I hope she has a good week. Other times I text my boyfriend with a memory of one of our adventures to tell him that he was on my mind. It really is so easy and it can make someone’s whole day brighter (including yours!)
Take 6 Deep Breaths
Gratitude is all about having the time to feel thankful for what you have, when I have a busy day I rarely stop to think about all the good things happening in my life, or all the small and wonderful things I take for granted. Sometimes in traffic in the morning when I am tired or grumpy or annoyed, I take six deep breaths and just sit in those breaths. It is honestly amazing what a few deep breaths will remind you of, of my lungs that keep me alive, of the job I get to go to each day, of the car I can afford to drive…. I tell you, it can bring a lot of perspective.
If words like “blessing” or “gratitude” are not really your thing, try thinking of blessings as “small wins”. I have been posting my small wins on my instagram story as a way to remind myself of the small things that make my life good, and also to encourage those who follow me to notice the small wins in their own lives. Examples of small wins include having a tasty lunch, smelling the fresh air, or connecting with a friend.
Buy Someone Coffee (Or Lunch, Or Anything)
Expressing gratitude can be shown by acknowledging that you may not have everything you want, you do have so much! And a great way to express that gratitude is to share what you have with others. Chances are, no matter how tight things are that week, you can spare $3 to buy someone a coffee. Treating someone else to something small but special is a great way to remind yourself that we all have something to give.
Write it Down
No – you don’t need to have a gratitude journal if that’s not your thing, but definitely try keeping a little list of things you are grateful for on your phone! Or jot blessings down in your daily planner, put them on your calendar, pretty much write them down anywhere! I have a gratitude journal (that I should DEFINITELY write in more, but alas) that I love looking back at and reading entries from weeks or even years ago. I also keep a little list on my phone, this is a great mental-health exercise for your commute if you bus or a good way to pass the time that isn’t mindlessly scrolling through social media.
Share Your Time
Time is our most valuable resource, so sharing time with someone is the ultimate display of affection or care. Also, spending time with people we love shows us how lucky we are to have good people in our lives, so this expresses gratitude and brings more feelings of gratitude!! Spending time can be tough but it doesn’t always have to be carved out of your day completely, need to exercise but also want to share time? Try going for a run together. Maybe try grocery shopping together, call a friend or family member while you clean your kitchen. Sharing time with others is a great way to show your gratitude and bring more joy into your life – even when things are busy.
Rant About the Positives, Not Just the Negatives
We spend a lot of time sharing our woes with others (Twitter, I am looking at you) and as much as sharing our grievances with others can feel like it bonds us, we need to rant and bond over all the positives too! And it does not need to be bragging! We all have good things going on, sometimes it feels more like it than other times, but there are always good things happening: seriously! Ideas for good things to rant about include: good developments at work, great books or articles you are reading, projects or goals you are proud of, exciting news from others in your circle, and the list goes on. So PLEASE lets all spend more time bonding over the good news as well as the bad (I promise it will actually make everyone feel better!)
So to sum up these 7 ways to express more gratitude: tell people you are grateful for them, re-phrase to “small wins” to make it easier to discuss, take time to count your blessings (even just six deep breaths), be generous with your time and money (this shows you are grateful you have both of these!), write down your blessings wherever you can, and rant about all the positives in yours and others lives.
I can’t tell you how much perspective and small expressions of gratitude have altered my life in the past few years, but let me tell you I am a much happier and better person for noticing the blessings in my life.
In closing, count every blessing. Every. Single. One.