Gratitude is best defined through the intentional acts of kindness that we show toward others. We are predisposed to draw closer to family and friends during celebratory times like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
During these gatherings, we are reminded of both the love we feel for our relatives and the craziness that creeps into the family dynamic. Ultimately, it is our relationships with family and friends that stretch us and force us to consider our actions.
Finding an approach to gratefulness beyond family absent celebratory occasions can be challenging when the busyness of life gets in the way. Failure to understand the life-altering effects that gratitude can have on your life and the person to who you are showing gratitude is a missed opportunity in experiencing happiness.
Here are nine ways that you can show gratitude toward others while bringing a sense of fulfillment and happiness to yourself.
Do Unto Others by Donating
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” While this is a scriptural reference, the phrase has significant meaning in the secular world.
We never know what unexpected curves life will throw us. It is possible to find oneself in a position of need. However, waking up each day knowing that you lack nothing should compel you to take intentional steps to show acts of kindness.
Donating to individuals who are experiencing hardship or a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve the less fortunate is a wonderful way to “do unto others” and show that you are grateful for your life and concerned about other people.
If you are wondering what to donate, start in your attic. Undoubtedly, there are hidden treasures in places that you rarely go. If items have been in your attic for a while and are still in good shape, you probably won’t miss whatever you find.
Part with your treasures during a visit to the children’s hospital ward or your local senior citizen’s center. What a great way to put smiles on the faces of those in need and do unto others as you may need them to do unto you.
Give of your Time and Talents
Statistics show that homelessness and hunger are reaching pandemic proportions in many areas of society. There are many people within your community that have no food in their homes.
The demands of work and family might leave you with little time to consider the struggles of others, but what if you turned your lack of time into an opportunity to give your time and talents?
Start by volunteering at a food bank where, in most cases, extra help is a necessity. Don’t underestimate the need for help in various areas of the facility, office work, warehouse work, food distribution, accounting, to name a few.
Many people will benefit because you are grateful for what you have and you don’t mind sharing your time with others.
Encourage others with compliments, cards, and simple words.
Encourage a friend. During the holidays it is easy to fall into a slump; lack of finances and strained family relations can get a person down.
Be an encourager; offer daily compliments, share funny stories, anything to help the person focus on something other than their personal issues. Send an unsolicited note to a friend.
The best gift is the unexpected. There are people who have been a blessing in your life; encourage them to send a note of thanks with words of appreciation to someone they know who needs to feel love.
Just be you
Use your natural gifts. If you like to cook, make a meal for someone who may be ill and can’t cook on their own. Then deliver or serve the food.
If you draw and do it well, draw a picture and give it to someone who needs to be uplifted. Ask friends for donations from people and designate a place that the money will go.
Consider your ability to help people heal
Donate for health. There are many health issues that can be remedied by the simple act of blood, organ, or cell donation.
Take the time to be present
Be still and listen. Showing gratitude can be acted out in many ways. Taking the time and patience to be emotionally present for someone shows that you understand that life is not all about you.
Make yourself available to listen to people who need an ear. It is a wonderful way to express your concern for others.
Lighten the workload of a colleague
Take over a job for someone. We consume ourselves with the task before us. At work, it is easy to operate in a vacuum, focusing on our next level of achievement.
Try being a team player by considering the responsibilities of a colleague. Offer to lighten the workload of a fellow employee.
Small Gestures equal abundance
Say thank you. Believe it or not, there are people in the world who don’t think about expressing thanks verbally. A simple acknowledgment goes a long way. Just say thank you.
Remind yourself daily
Journal your gratitude. Writing each day what you are grateful for even on bad days can change your perspective. Keep a journal of the things that bring meaning to your life.
Make gratitude contagious by transferring your gratitude to someone else through acts of selfless kindness.
William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
Wrap your present of gratitude and pay it forward!