Seven Ways to Show Gratitude

This is the time of year when we reflect on all that we are thankful for, and celebrate the truly good things in life like family, friends, loved ones, health, a good job, a nice house, and many other blessings. Thanksgiving Day isn’t the only time we can express our thanks for all those wonderful blessings in life, because there’s never a wrong time to show gratitude! Here are some ways you can show your thankfulness no matter what time of year it is.

1. Be specific with your thanks. When sending out your Thanksgiving cards this year, give specifics about exactly why you’re thankful for the person receiving the card. Did they say something that made a difference for you? Did they do something for you that helped you in a specific way? Do they set an example in an area of life that you endeavor to follow? Telling someone exactly why you’re thankful for them is a great way to show your gratitude.

2. Be thoughtful of others. Yes, you must take care of yourself first before you can take care of others, but don’t be so focused on what you need that you don’t consider the thoughts, feelings, and needs of those around you. Before you take care of number one, think about how your actions and words will affect other people, and modify accordingly.

3. Go out of your way. During the holidays we often get caught up in all the things we must do to host a party, decorate our homes, do extra shopping, and accomplish a million other tasks. This year go out of your way to help someone else at this busy time. Is there a single person who has nowhere to go for Thanksgiving? Invite him or her to join you for the day. Does a coworker or neighbor need a ride to the airport, train station, or shopping mall? Be the one to offer it, even if it takes you out of your way and adds to your own to do list.

4. Be a good listener. Nothing makes a person feel cared for more than being listened to, especially if they’re struggling with something. Take time to look around you and notice who seems to be having trouble and offer to take them out for coffee. Ask them how things are going and listen when they share; look beyond the surface and do your best to draw them out without being nosy. Sometimes we all need an impartial third party to be a good listener and help us gain perspective.

5. Revive the (almost) lost art of the handwritten note. Skip the text or email and opt for a handwritten thank you note or letter of appreciation. Choose colorful sunflowers, scenic country roads, or falling autumn leaves and write out a note expressing your gratitude. Mention the deed done or gift given and let the person responsible know how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness.

6. Be kind. You don’t have to wait for a special day in February to perform a random act of kindness. Look for a way to be kind to a friend, acquaintance, coworker, or stranger, and do it without expecting any thanks. Deliver a basket of food to someone who’s struggling financially. Pay for the meal or coffee of the person behind you in line. If possible, perform your random act of kindness anonymously, and let the very act be your reward.

7. Be the first to apologize. Have you had a recent disagreement with someone? No matter how angry you are or how right you may be, be willing to be the first to say you are sorry to those you truly love and appreciate. There’s an old saying, “You can either be right or you can be happy.” Be willing to compromise in life, and your relationships will be the better for it.

There you have it – seven ways to show your thankfulness, whether it’s during Thanksgiving season or at any time of year.