“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Those who withhold gratitude, waiting for others to do something worthy of its expression, miss the point of gratitude altogether.
Gratitude is not reflected in what happens to us, or how others treat us, or in the good deed someone does for us.
It is something we carry with us into every moment of life. It’s an attitude, a way of looking at the world and interpreting events and interacting with others. It’s a habitual way of being, a character trait that elevates us and blesses others.
Following, then, are ways you and I can start adding more gratitude to our lives.
20 Ways to Live more Gratefully
Living gratitude is no more complex than practicing gratitude. It is like habituating anything: The more it’s done, the more we automatically do it. Counting our blessings, naming them, writing them, identifying them is a good start. But there’s more we can do. This is a list of 20 suggestions to up your gratitude. Try them out and see what happens.
1. Send a note of appreciation to a friend.
2. Ask to see the manager at a store or restaurant where you were served particularly well and compliment your server or clerk.
3. Thank a cop (or fireman, or soldier) for the protection they provide.
4. Mail your spouse a Thank-You note (even if handing it to her would be easier).
5. Double your efforts to teach your child to say thank-you (it will increase the amount of gratitude in the world by at least one).
6. Bake some cookies for a neighbor with a note thanking them for being such wonderful people.
7. Notice the little things you usually overlook.
8. Stop taking your spouse (children, parents, whoever) for granted.
9. Say a prayer asking for nothing, only giving thanks for all you’ve been blessed with.
10. Start a gratitude list or journal, adding daily to the list until you have at least 100 things you’re grateful for.
11. Share your list with family or friends (and challenge them to beat you).
12. Do a good deed every day this month as a way to thank God or Life for all the good in your life.
13. Find something good to say about everyone you meet today.
14. Overcome the nasty habit to complain.
15. Say things like, “Thank you so much, I really appreciate that!” instead of grunting an almost inaudible, “Thanks” in passing.
16. Smile and wave when a car lets you in.
17. When you hear someone say something critical about another person, say, “Perhaps, but …” (then add words that are kinder and more forgiving)
18. Thank a stranger who smiles or says hello or lets you go in front of them how much they made your day (it will make theirs).
19. Be more specific in your expressions of gratitude. Instead of saying, “Thanks for dinner.” Say, “Thanks so much for taking the time to put this amazing meal together. It really means a lot to me. I’ve been a bit stressed lately and you continue to be such a source of joy to me. Thank you for that.”
20. If you forget to say thank-you, don’t let it pass. Go back and thank those you should thank, even if hours or days later.
21 (free bonus): Tell us what you’re thankful for in the comments below.
The benefits of gratitude are stunning: greater happiness, more success, closer friends, happier marriages, less stress, richer joys, healthier hearts, improved lives. So let’s start today to do more to develop habitual gratitude. Let’s begin today to express our gratitude in the most sincere way. Let’s do something to express how thankful we are. Let’s live gratitude.
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