Do you feel happier when someone tells you thank you and how much they appreciate you? Tammy T. StonResearch explains that our relationships with others is what enriches our lives. It is important to take the time and thank people who make our lives better (Kruger, 2014). For me, showing my appreciation for others is a part of my daily routine. I never go a day without letting at least one person know how thankful I am for them. Gratitude is such a powerful tool of happiness in my life and I want to empower others to embrace this wonderful tool as well. Showing my gratitude is a powerful tool because it brings me true happiness and strengthens my connection with others.
So, what is the problem? Why do some people struggle in showing their gratefulness? My answer to this question is: because they do not know how. Research also shows that it is possible to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness and fully integrate into our lives (Wynne, 2013). There are many ways to cultivate your attitude of gratefulness, and I am here to help.
4 Tips on how to Express Gratitude:
1. First and foremost, say “thank you!” Whether this be face to face or through text or online, everyone loves to hear someone appreciate them, and it makes you feel good too!
2. Start a gratitude journal. Important: Showing your gratitude does not always mean saying thank you to a human being. Being grateful for something as simple as: “I am grateful for the sunshine today” or “I am happy I am healthy today” are signs of gratefulness. Write this in a gratitude journal every day. It helps to remember what you are thankful for and start and end your day a positive one.
3. Be spontaneous and buy your friend, family or significant other a coffee or a gift! Science shows those people who buy gifts for friends or donate to charities spontaneously have an instant happiness boost (Journal of Science, 2008)
4. Create a joy/gratitude jar. It’s easy. To learn more about how to create a joy jar, click here.
The list goes on and on about how we can show our gratefulness. The real trick is finding what is right for your. You control your happiness. The next time you say “thank you” feel in your heart how good it makes you feel. As David Steindl-Rast states: “The root of joy is gratefulness.”
Here is a story from someone who finds gratitude to be very important in her life:
“To express my gratitude for someone I appreciate brings me joy. Last week I had the opportunity to write a letter of appreciation for a professor that made a difference in my life. I met her when I was 19 years old studying Journalism, Communication, and French. She was not only my professor but soon became my mentor, colleague, and friend. I thanked her for believing in my abilities when other professors discouraged me based on my ethnic background and their perceptions. She taught me how to write creatively and share my personal experiences as a journalist. This professor played a major role in me becoming a professor and returning to teach at WWU. I selected WWU based on the close interpersonal relationship that I developed with this special professor and others. Today she is now my colleague and friend. We go to dinner, share personal stories, and do what friends do. I am very grateful to have met a professor like Carolyn Dale. I use many of the tools and knowledge learned from her.” Written By: Tara B. Perry
“I was lucky enough to appreciated and thanked for my work as a Dr. Tara Perry’s Student Leader through a very unique and fun activity. Dr. Perry found a gratitude activity on Pinterest. The activity involved me sitting on a chair in front of the whiteboard while students crowded around me writing words of appreciation. As they crowded around me giggling and smiling I couldn’t help but turn red. After the chaos was done I turned around to see all the kind words written on the board. I couldn’t help but turn red as a small crept onto my face. For the rest of the day I felt really appreciated and happy. I want to thank Dr. Perry and the students for the wonderful words they wrote about me. Dr. Perry wanted to show her gratitude towards me and this activity was perfect.” Written By: Jackie Heller
Click on the link to learn more about the Gratitude Activity found on Pinterest: http://in-the-corner.com/2013/01/16/have-a-student-sit-on-chair-in-front-of-white-board-and-have-others-write-a-positive-phrase-about-them-then-take-a-picture-dont-let-them-see-it-till-they-get-the-photo-such-a-great-end-of-the-y/
Another student who was really influenced by gratitude and decided to implement the tip of creating a joy jar wants to tell her story. To read more, click HERE.
Note: You can even use your phone to express your gratitude! Check out the video below.
Other Resources: How to create a gratitude jar:
Oprah’s Guide to Gratitude:
Kruger, S. (2014). 20 simple ways to show appreciation. Zen family habits: simple happiness. http://www.zenfamilyhabits.net/2009/12/20-simple-ways-to-show-appreciation
Wynne, P. (2013). 7 tips to cultivate gratitude. Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/25900-7-tips-gratitude-happiness.html
Journal of Science (2008).
Blog written by: Jackie Heller and Dr. Tara Perry