Amidst the ups and downs of daily life, it’s important to recognize the people, places, and things that add value and meaning to our lives. Which is why, we all should find some ways to practice and pay attention to the role gratitude has in our life. While a simple, “Thank you,” is the universal way to show our appreciation, there are a variety of ways for us to express gratitude. The more we practice it, the easier it becomes a habit to show gratitude to those we care about! Find a way to show gratitude that suits you, based on your love language, from the ideas below.
Write it Out: When we press pause and pick up a pen, it gives us the opportunity to thoughtfully give thanks. Now, this could mean writing a letter to someone you appreciate, to the universe, or to ourselves (past, present, or future), or connecting with our gratitude through journaling. We even have some prompts to get you started for the later option!
Collect Gratitude: Looking to get a little crafty? Well, it might be time to create a gratitude jar. Find a jar, a box, or any kind of canister, and decorate it any way you like. Then, create slips of paper that you can write on what you’re grateful for (in colorful pens, glitter, or whatever is your style). Throughout the week (or month, or year), add items that you’re thankful for to the jar, and whenever you’re feeling low, reach for a slip from the jar to remind yourself of the things that mean the most to you.
Expand Your Vocabulary: If words of affirmation is your love language, then you believe in the power of words! So take stock of what language you use to show gratitude, and think of some impactful words that you can add to your vocab. Challenge yourself to incorporate one of the following words into your gratitude repertoire: blessings, fortune, abundance, or generosity.
Physical Expression: In 2020, our ability to share physical touch with others really took a hit. For those of us who speak the language of physical touch, we look forward to the return of normalized hugs and handshakes. In the meantime, a smile can still be a physical expression of gratitude. Not only does smiling create a positive physical response in our own bodies (by triggering the release of endorphins), it also touches those around us in a positive way and lifts their mood. Touch others, without physically touching them, with your smile.
Use Your Senses: It’s through all five of our human senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste), that we can fully immerse ourselves in what we’re grateful for. Try it out with a photo of a memory you cherish: reconnect with that memory by recalling how you physically felt in that exact moment, then soak in all the details by acknowledging all the tiny details you see in that photo, and, finally, think back to what you smelled that day.
Random Acts of Kindness: Sometimes, the most meaningful demonstrations of gratitude are the most spontaneous. Get inspired by these ten random acts of kindness we’ve gathered on the blog. From wiping off the snow on a neighbor’s windshield to anonymously buying coffee for a stranger, you’ll surely delight in the opportunity to spread kindness without any guarantee of recognition in return.
Plant a Tree: Give back to the planet, and show your appreciation for all the life that it supports, by bringing new life into this world. Trees provide so many benefits to the environment, all while contributing their beauty to our surroundings. If you live in an area where it isn’t possible to plant your own tree, explore contributing to organizations that can do so on your behalf--like #PlantYourChange, which rounds up the cents on your purchases and uses the funds to plant trees around the world.
Volunteer: Volunteer your time and your talents to an organization that you care about. In the Favor section of the SheFactor blog, you’ll find all the details on how you can get involved with and volunteer at nursing homes, Habitat for Humanity, the local library, homeless shelters, humane societies, and more!
Create a Collage: The modern-day collage is a Pinterest board, so create one that visually showcases what you’re thankful for or gather Pins that remind you to live a life of gratitude. Start with some inspiration from SheFactor’s Pinterest profile. Then, share your board with someone you think would benefit from the board you’ve created. Hopefully, this virtual gift will provide them with some uplifting gratitude.
Give a Gift: If you prefer to show your appreciation with a gift, remember that it’s the thought behind it that will mean the most. You don’t have to go big--instead, find a gift that’s meaningful or useful to the individual. Either theme will make the recipient feel grateful for both the item and you!
Make a Vow: When we commit to a concrete goal, we’re more likely to follow through, so vow to spend time with your gratitude daily. Do what you can to hold yourself to a schedule, and prioritize that quality time with your gratitude. Then, hold yourself accountable to this time with reminders, like a note on the fridge or a recurring event in your phone’s calendar.
Walk with Your Gratitude: Taking a walk is a more active type of meditation, and can help you achieve gratitude when you walk mindfully and purposefully. Make it as short or as long as you’d like, and spend the entirety of your walk thinking about or observing things you’re grateful for. This means when your mind starts to wander, steer it back to gratitude. As you’re walking along, notice the colors, textures, and sounds of your surroundings, and how they make you feel.
Get inspired to show your gratitude in whatever way feels comfortable to you. Finding, recognizing, and acting on your gratitude is beneficial to you and the people around you. Incorporating gratitude into our lives not only enhances our empathy for others, but it also improves our self-esteem and confidence while building our mental strength and emotional intelligence. So what are you waiting for? Spread the gratitude, girl!