There is no expression of gratitude too small.
We sometimes get caught up in the idea that to express gratitude toward someone means we must throw them a ticker-tape parade or buy them a car, but most of the time, grand gestures aren’t needed (unless you really, really want to organize a ticker-tape parade… good luck). Little things like actively listening to someone when they need an ear or making more eye contact and giving out more smiles can be just as impactful.
At its core, gratitude is an emotion that may or may not manifest into expression or action, but research has shown that the expression of thankfulness and appreciation increases our mental well-being, and can even reach our physical state.
How you ask?
Practicing gratitude increases our serotonin levels, which stimulate happiness. Being a happier person means less depression, better moods, and better relationships. When we’re in this kind of place in our lives, more reasons to be grateful sprout up, and the cycle continues.
- We’ve compiled a list of quick, easy things we can do every day to express gratitude, some of them may surprise you:
- Watch the sunrise or take an early morning walk, begin the day by appreciating the beauty of the natural world, and realizing what a gift it is.
- Being challenged at work or at home? Take a couple of breaths, and instead of reacting negatively, try to think of ways challenges or criticisms can be opportunities for growth and change.
- Ask someone how their day is going, and really listen. Take the time to ask a question or two, we all need that kind of connection more than we realize.
- Give hugs.
- Change tasks you ordinarily think of as mundane into tasks you’re glad to be able to do at all. We sometimes take for granted those things which come easy, or we feel that we “have” to do. Instead of thinking, “I’ve got to make dinner,” try thinking how great it is that you “get” to make a nice meal for you or your family.
- Take a few deep breaths and appreciate how amazing your body is. When we really take the time to consider all that it does for us (much of which is automatic), it’s hard not to be grateful.
- Encourage more! Sprinkling encouraging words throughout the day can work wonders for those around you, lift up as many people as you can. In that same vein, give genuine compliments!
- Keep a gratitude notebook or journal. It never hurts to jot down throughout the day the little things you’ve noticed that you’re grateful for or that bring you happiness. Share these reflections with others.
These are just a few out of the countless more small ways to experience and express gratitude in your daily life. Do you have your own gratitude practices? Please leave us a note in the comments and let us know what you do to keep gratitude an integral part of how you live your daily life!