Giving thanks isn’t a practice we should just confine to Thanksgiving. Being grateful for the the good things and people in your life is important to practice year-round, and can have positive benefits on your life as well as the lives of the people around you and your community as a whole.
Gratitude journals are a growing trend as well as a great tool for keeping track of all the great things in your life. Writing down things, actions, or people that bring you joy is one of the best ways to begin or end your day. But while it may be easier to write down your feelings of gratitude for your friends, family, health, and circumstances, it can be more difficult to know how to express this gratitude.
Here are four examples of how you can show your thanks year-round:
1. Send a thank you card
This small action can have a massive effect. Pick up some blank thank you cards or, if you’re crafty, make your own card. Think about everyone in your life—did your co-worker give you a hand on a difficult task recently? Did your neighbour lend you an egg when you needed it for recipe? You don’t even have to cite a specific example of something the person did. Just acknowledging that a person has been a good friend to you or that you’re glad they’re in your life is enough.
Hand writing a note expressing your gratitude is an easy way to show the people around you that you acknowledge everything they’ve done for you.
2. Give a compliment
Giving out genuine compliments is a fantastic way to express your gratitude. You can easily make someone’s day by giving them praise. Be kind to a stranger by letting them know you like their shirt, or tell your friend you love what they’ve done with their house. Looking someone in the eye, smiling and letting them know you like something about them will make them feel appreciated.
3. When possible, focus on the bright side of a situation
A natural reaction to something not going your way may be to complain. Instead of complaining right away, take a few breaths and focus on everything that is going right in your life instead of reacting with anger or frustration. This way, you are more likely to react positively and come up with a solution to whatever is bothering you.
4. Give back to your community
One of the best way to express your gratitude is by giving back to your community. If you have extra time to volunteer with a local organization, donate to a food bank, or even help clean up litter in your neighbourhood, it will have a positive effect on your own well-being as well as the people you’re helping. When you give back, it helps put your own blessings into perspective.
At Family Services of Greater Vancouver, we are always looking for eager volunteers who are inspired by paying it forward. Learn more about volunteering with us.