For many of us, expressing gratitude is not an intentional exercise but rather a once-a-year around-the-table game we play with family while eating turkey. It turns out that acknowledging gratitude is more than just a polite way to participate in the holidays; it’s actually scientifically shown to positively impact health, relationships, self-esteem and overall happiness.
Here are a few easy ways to chronicle your gratitude and reap the benefits:
Write it, don’t say it
We’ve talked before about the power of a handwritten note. Avoid the urge to send a “thanks” by text and put an actual letter in the mail instead. Have a moment and some stamps laying around? Send that card.
Share your positivity about someone with a third party
Directly expressing your gratitude to someone is great. Sharing that hype with someone else (partner, child, colleague or friend) can have even greater impact, as you create an opportunity for others to notice underappreciated character traits in the person and demonstrate what it means to be a good friend.
Give a gift “just because”
Have you ever received a gift that wasn’t tied to an occasion like your birthday, graduation or the holidays? Surprising someone with a present they’re not expecting can knock their socks off while showing them how much you really care. And a gift doesn’t need to be extravagant—even a small trinket from the grocery store line that reminds you of the recipient may hit the target.
Do it, and do it again
You may naturally gush upon receiving a particularly nice compliment or a special gift that just hits the spot. Follow up your immediate gratitude with a well-considered “thanks again” down the line so your loved one knows they left a lasting impression.