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8 Ways to show gratitude

As nutritionists speak of superfoods for the body, gratitude is one of the superfoods for the mind and spirit. Its healing and energizing powers have been well-documented throughout human history and more recently in scientific studies by positive psychologists who are lauding the mental health benefits to both sides of the gratitude equation. Here’s a quick guide to giving thanks to those who have given you so much.

Woman hugging friend

1Mean it when you say thanks

Sincerity is half the battle when it comes to gratitude. If you’re really grateful, it should all come out very naturally and be received likewise. Quick gratitude check – are you really grateful? Are you showing gratitude for the right reasons? If so, proceed.

2Give your time as gratitude

Time is money, and while some people have more time than money, time seems to be more valuable socially than money – and gratitude is a social gesture. Whatever you are going to do – even before you know what it is – make sure you’ve budgeted time-wise and have scheduled it in your agenda.

3Be specific about your thankfulness

Oh, how the details matter, and you might just find it is hard to articulate and describe what you’re grateful for. This exercise is also for you to get a clearer picture of the good that has been bestowed upon you. Start with a pad and pen, and list all the specific things you’re grateful for.

4Give thanks for results

The meaning behind someone’s sentiments may be more important than the tangible results themselves. Did someone bolster your self-esteem or make you feel validated? Realizing that yourself, then communicating it to the other person is going to be a home run.

5Show gratitude with a gift

Studies show that the gift size and value do not significantly increase the appreciation for the gesture, so you can make it small and personal. Make sure you’ve done your research and know what the person likes, what they have and what they really wish they had.

6Make public displays of gratitude

Showing gratitude to someone in front of others may enhance the experience for the receiver. Again, since this is a social undertaking, gratitude in the context of a larger group is inherently valued by most people. If you think your muse can be included in this characterization, think of ways to publicly thank them.

7Make gratitude a surprise

Since surprise parties aren’t always a welcome event, try an “out of the blue” thank you. This can be the icing on the cake for your gratitude exercise, heightening emotions and intensifying the message.

8Involve others in giving thanks

Yes, you can orchestrate group gratitude if you feel you are but one of many people who owe a debt of gratitude to a particular person. But try not to lose track of the other elements mentioned above just because it’s a group setting.

Showing thanks is quickly becoming a valid motivator, and health and happiness pill. As a staple of good leaders and effective managers, being good at showing gratitude might go on your resume some day. Use this helpful tool often and watch the quality of your life soar.

More on giving thanks

For more information on giving thanks and improving the quality of your life and others, visit

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