Studies show that being kind to others and showing thankfulness is healthy for your body and mind. Here are ten tips to try this month to be grateful.
1. Create a Gratitude Ritual. This could be something you do for yourself or others. It can be giving away part of your time or money in thankfulness or maybe it's meditating on the things you are thankful for. Writing down what you are thankful for every week is a great way to start. Do this by drinking tea or doing some yoga for an added health benefit.
2. Send a thank-you note. You know, it’s nice to get a little note thanking you for something you did. You don’t need to send someone a formal thank-you card (although that’s a nice touch), but just a little note (or email) saying thank you for a specific thing the person has done for you can go a long way. And it only takes a minute! Do your writing when you are in the mood and you are in a positive attitude. Forcing yourself to smile even when you don't think about it actually lowers your blood pressure (also signing and taking deep breathes).
3. Give a free hug. OK, only do this when appropriate … but if you have a loved one in your life, give them a hug! Often we can go too long without showing our affection and gratitude, even to those who are closest to us. Don’t neglect this important part of your relationship. By “free” hug, I mean don’t expect anything in return — just give it as a gift of gratitude. Hugging can release happy hormones and mood balancing chemicals in your brain. So it's healthy to give a hug!
4. Give thanks for today! You don’t even have to thank a person … you can thank life itself! Wake up, and greet the day with gratitude. Be thankful you’re alive!
5. Do someone a free favor. Without expecting anything in return, do something nice for someone. Just something small. Get them a drink or a coffee, do a chore for them, offer to do an errand, anything they’d appreciate, really. Think of what the person likes, wants or needs, and try to do something (even something small) to help them. Actions speak louder than words, and doing something nice will show you’re grateful more than just saying it. Giving to others makes you feel better!
6. Give a little gift. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but a little gift can be a tremendous gesture. Here are 30 ideas.
7. Put words, photos, or objects around your home and office that show positive gratitude. You can design and paint them yourself or go to a home goods store and you'll find tons of inspirational wall quotes or framed art for your home or office. Even a positive calendar that sits on your desk is a good idea. Surrounding yourself with positive messages can change your outlook and keep your mind balanced.
8. Acknowledge them publicly. Who doesn’t love public praise? Find a way to acknowledge the contributions of someone, to show your gratitude, in a public way … in your office, among friends and family, on your blog, in your local newspaper.
9. Surprise them with kindness. Actually, this is mostly the same as Item #5, but with a twist: surprise the person. That little extra step of surprising them can make a big difference. When your wife comes home from work, have a lovely dinner prepared. When your mom walks out her front door in the morning, have her car nice and clean. When your daughter opens her lunch pail, have a little note and a treat waiting for her. You get the idea.
10. Say thanks even for negative things in your life. This is the hard part, in truth. When things go wrong, when we’re not happy, when people are mean to us, when we are worn down by the million slings and arrows of everyday life … we don’t want to say thank you. But this is the time when it matters most. If you’ve mastered the first 9 items on this list, you’re ready to master this one. Negativity and stress can cause illness, so being thankful and positive is a healthier way to live! Enjoy every moment, you never know when it will be your last.