There are many ways to foster a thankful heart, which can lead to positive benefits, such as better health, higher productivity, healthier relationships, more satisfaction with life, relief from stress, and defense against depression.
Now might be a good time to conduct a personal thankfulness inventory, learn ways to increase your thankfulness, and practice new methods of expressing gratefulness to those in your life.
Experts agree that to develop a lifestyle of gratitude, you will need to slow down and be intentional to look at all aspects of your life – work, home, play, community, church, school, neighborhood, family – because when you really take stock, there is so much to be grateful for.
It might be specific people in your life, a job to pay the bills, a good customer service experience, a free country, a car to get around, food to eat, a place to live, fresh air to breath, a kind word you received, a warm coat, a cozy bed, hot water, or a new day.
How do you show gratitude? Here are a few examples:
Serve – You might volunteer at a homeless shelter, provide a Thanksgiving meal to a foster family, give to an organization that provides clean water in third world countries, or visit a homebound senior. There is no shortage of those in need, so put the gratitude you feel for your blessed life into action by serving someone less fortunate.
Show – Send a card for no other reason than to express your appreciation for an everyday thing someone does to make your life better. This is especially impactful for those who often go unrecognized, such as the custodian, the postman, the bank clerk, the grocery sacker, the garbage collector, your state representative, even your boss.
Verbal – Try to go beyond the simple “thank you.” Instead, be specific about what they’ve done that you’re thankful for. For example, rather than simply thanking a veteran for his or her service, tell them how much it means to you that they put their life on the line to defend our freedom.