Everybody has a different way of expressing gratitude to others. Are you grateful for your life? If you had been at the receiving end of gratitude, were you able to do the same for others? Showing gratitude means doing something for a person to express your thanks, kindness and appreciation in some ways.
With this article, I am sharing seven habits on how to show gratitude and make it a way of life. These are practical and easy to execute habits that you can incorporate into you daily lives, or on a regular basis. The key is to make expressing of gratitude as effortless as possible.
1. Do a Daily Gratitude Declaration
This is easy. To begin, you want to sit down and write a list of things that you are grateful for in your life. (link to 101 grat) Number the list as you write. If you prefer, you can also type them using a word processing software and print them out too. Keep it to A5 size if you can.
Besides writing your gratitude for what the universe has given you like air, sun, scenery, and the things that you are born with – your sight, hearing, healthy limbs to walk and run, there is one area that you must focus on. This is where you are can write a list of personal gratitude that are unique to you in your life. Example, there will be people who are grateful to have survived a major illness, there are those who are grateful to have escaped a plane crash for whatever reasons that causes their delay.
I have previously written a list of more than 20 personal gratitude that applies only in my life. Top of my list – I am most grateful to have God! My list includes gratefulness for my gift in writing, my gratitude to have learned all the personal development programs. The one other thing that I am most grateful for is to have the opportunity to meet many mentors who teaches me in the areas of property investment, business development, self mastery and creating passive income.
I’m sure you will have many things or people that you are grateful for. Check out my article on 101 Ways to Show Gratitude. Go on and write them down. When you have created your gratitude list, you want to pin it in a visible place. On a daily basis or at least 3 times a week, declare them by reading out to yourself. I do my declarations every morning as I wake up. It fills my day with a grateful heart.
2. Commit to Do At Least One Act of Gratitude to Someone Every Day
I’m sure you encounter lots of people everyday – your neighbors, colleagues, building security, people you meet regularly in your workplace area, in public transport, the street vendor or even strangers in the street. Knowingly or unknowingly, you may have already shown gratitude to people on a daily basis. This habit is for you to consciously do the act. I’m not talking about saying “please” or “thank you”, these should already become a habit of your life.
Some specific acts of gratitude could be; if you know that a colleague is missing lunch because of an extended meeting, why not offer to bring back takeaway lunch for her? Or, on your way home, buy an ice cream from the street vendor. How about helping a family member to run an errand at the bank, or offer to cook dinner?
These are simple acts that will bring on a smile to the recipients. You may not think much, but if you had done all the above, that will already be 4 acts of gratitude in a single day.
3. Keep a Journal of Your Gratitude
I personally keep a journal of my gratitude although I don’t record every single act, or on every single day. I record only the more memorable and significant ones. You have a choice. For a start, as you cultivate the habit of doing your one gratitude act, it will be a good idea to capture them daily. You can capture your gratitude as it happen at the end of each day before you go to sleep.
photo credit Crystl
There are three ways to keep a gratitude journal.
#1 Gratitude Mobile App
I’ve used a few apps before, there are actually quite a number of them in both the iTunes and Android stores. Most of them have free versions. Look around and if you like, you can download one to use. A mobile app has the advantage of letting you record the app anywhere anytime with your mobile phone. The only disadvantage is there might be a character limit, thus limiting you to typing only a maximum number of words. I personally use an app and I like to keep my gratitude journal short.
#2 Use a Notepad
Some people have the habit of carrying a physical notepad around and use it for meetings, taking down notes or for writing down anything that catches their attention. If you do carry a notepad, you can block off one section to use as your gratitude journal. Remember to write the date, and number them if you have more than one, which I am sure you will.
#3 Use a Word Processing Software like Microsoft Office or Open Office
If you are a keyboard warrior, this is for you definitely. With a software, you have the advantages of typing as much text as your like, and the fancy of highlighting the text in bold, underline, even varying font types and sizes. Beware though that the whole purpose is recording and you don’t absolutely need to create a fancy page out of it.
How Detail Should a Journal Be?
No hard and fast rule here, it’s up to you. You can write a one-liner sentence of 20-50 words, a few short sentences, or if you like, write a short story out of it. I would caution against spending too much time, unless it’s your intention to do so.
4. Express Your Gratitude to People Who Have Done You Good
For the people that you are thankful for, grab an opportunity to express your gratitude to them.
Give a Testimony
This is the best and most straightforward way. We all know that testimonial sells. Products and services accompanied by testimonials carry a higher level of trust among buyers, even more so when photos and videos are used.
I’ve done testimonials for my mentors, from written notes, emails to videos and even being physically present to speak to participants at their events. It shows a great deal of appreciation when you give testimonials, especially in person. In fact, one of my mentor has even used the testimonial of me and my husband in both their flyer and print advertisement. Seeing them makes my heart warm.
By Way of Feedback
When I attended a course or event, I will normally write a note for the trainer at the end of it, where I give my sincere feedback on what I felt was good and the areas that I hope to see in future courses. At times, I would also include areas for improvements. Feedback for events is another great way of showing appreciation and it will help the speaker and organizer to improve in their subsequent events.
Treats and Presents
Conventional, but this is another great way to show gratitude. In the context of Singapore where I lived, the most popular way of thanking someone and expressing gratefulness is by way of treating them to lunch or dinner, and at times accompanied by a simple and practical gift.
5. Be An Ambassador of Gratitude by Spreading & Encouraging People to Do the Same
Lead by Example. Go out to spread the gratitude habit not by talking alone but by the actions you take. Do something for others that they will be grateful to you. And in turn, get them to do the same for others in their own ways using their strengths and talents. Pass on the good habit and infect as many people as you can.
photo credit symphony of love
This is my all time favorite. If you have a talent or possess an expert knowledge, share by teaching it to other people. By teaching, you are gifting the knowledge of your talent to other people. If you wish, you can share as a volunteer for a charitable cause, or you can create a course or run a seminar and charge a fee. Sharing doesn’t always have to be free! You can be selective on what you offer based on the target audience and their needs.
People will be grateful for the opportunity to learn. The more you share, the more benefits others will derived. Whenever I have the opportunity to share, I’ll accept it and put in my best to provide as much values as I can.
Freely you received, freely you give! This is what I believed and embraced. The world is full of abundance. It is because of people who are willing to give, that you have received. Be a giver. Don’t we hear of successful people who attributes their humanitarian or charity efforts as a form of giving back to the society, in appreciation of what others have given them in the past to make them who and what they are today.
Over the last two years, I’ve met many people who told me that they wanted to, and are looking for ways to give back and contribute to society. Most of them are fairly successful people in their own rights. Some are business owners, others are middle and higher managers in top corporate companies. There are also some retirees.
What I found interesting is when they told me why they wanted to give, not in exactly the same words, but the meaning is the same. You may resonate with some:
- I’ve been working for so many years, it’s time to slow down and pursue something meaningful
- I’ve already achieved a lot in life. I want to share while I can.
- I want to be able to contribute to the less fortunate.
- Life is short. I want to give back and do something for others.
- There are a lot of people who needs help in this world. I’m just doing a small part.
photo credit Tim Green
Hearing from them, my draw down was this – that they were grateful for what they have achieved in their lives, and they now want to share and help others do the same.
7. Stay Positive
For a start, you can’t be a happy person if you do not have a positive mindset to begin with. Negative person tends to focus on their problems, worries and are more pessimistic by nature or even by choice. Don’t be surprised when I said by choice, and I do know why. When confronted with a problem, a negative person has the tendency to say, “I’m prepared for the worst”. This statement is to me an imperative that he is giving up, predicting failure and just waiting to face the consequences. Whereas a positive person is likely to say, ‘let’s see what is the situation now, maybe we can do this and these”.
The difference is a positive person will assess the current situation and proactively list down the solutions and options that he has access to, instead of fire fighting and waiting for the situation to take over him.
Why I believe that the habit of staying positive is a way to gratitude – When you have the ability to resolve any problems, you are grateful for all the solutions, ideas and people flowing your way. Becoming problem free means you will have more time to show gratitude to others.
Many times when I had the opportunity to express gratitude to anybody, I found myself smiling and it’s not just a physical smile, but I can feel my heart smiling too. It’s great to be able to do something for someone no matter how small. Start practicing these habits today.