Most people have heard about the psychological benefits of expressing gratitude.
But, admit it, do you really keep up with this sort of thing?
Here to help you top-up on gratitude are five little things you can try today.
1. Appreciate your partner
Gratitude can work like a kind of glue for your relationship.
Saying thanks for the small things that partners do for each other can work wonders.
It is especially true if they are everyday acts that might often go unnoticed.
Studies suggest men lag behind women in experiencing and expressing gratitude.
Still, both sexes can benefit from making an effort to be thankful for their relationships.
But don’t just think it, say it.
Better still, do something to show it.
2. Credit others with your achievements
We all like to take credit for our own achievements.
But when you think about it, are they really all our own achievements?
Did we not receive a little help along the way from others?
Everyone likes to hear that their advice was helpful or that it was their assistance that helped you over the line.
Don’t be shy. Let them know they helped.
3. The gratitude list
A favourite of psychologists doing studies on gratitude, the list is an easy way to boost the positive emotion of gratitude.
Do it anytime you like, in as much or as little detail as you like.
In fact, no need to write down, just take a moment now to think of one or two things you feel thankful for.
4. Use body language to thank someone
We’ve all given someone a ‘thanks’ that was less than enthusiastic, perhaps bordering on sarcastic.
So, the next time you say grazie, gracias, merci, arigatô or danke, do it with style.
Using body language is the easiest way to boost a thank you up from humdrum to heartening.
Lean in, smile, even use a touch on the upper arm — at least make sure you are looking them in the eye.
Say thank you like you really mean it.
Because, of course, you do, don’t you?
5. The gratitude letter
This is towards the more hardcore end of gratitude.
Try writing a gratitude letter to someone who has never been properly thanked.
(Better that it is an actual letter; a gratitude email doesn’t hit the same high notes.)
Tell them how much you appreciate what they have done for you and how much it means.
They will feel great receiving it (apart from anything else, who gets handwritten letters any more?) and you will feel great sending it.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
My thanks (inevitably!) to Stephen M. Yoshimura & Kassandra Berzins, whose article in the journal Review of Communication inspired this post (Yoshimura & Berzins, 2017).