“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” Amy Collette
Gratitude is being thankful and showing appreciation to someone or something. It is recognizing the good things that happen and being thankful for them. Studies have shown that gratitude shown internally or externally increases your sense of well-being. What does that mean? It means that using a gratitude journal that no one sees or the mere process of thinking about actions that your are grateful for is as positively powerful on your well being as sharing your gratitude publicly. How’s that for options when completing your daily give. Think it or respond publicly, it is up to you.
I have to admit I do try to show my gratitude publicly. I find that showing others gratitude in a public way increases their well-being as well. Think about a time when someone wrote you a letter of gratitude. How did you feel? Happy. I bet you smiled as well. When my kids sent a letter of gratitude to the local fire department, thanking them to keeping our community safe, the entire firehouse, from firefighters to cleaning and admin staff, felt great! Sharing our gratitude with this team spread happiness further than just our own family. I find that powerful!
Gratitude as a daily give is a super way to complete your weekly giving list. Start out feeling gratitude. Watch an interaction on the street that makes you smile. Start a gratitude journal where you write down one thing you are grateful for each day. This will get you in the habit of recognizing things we are grateful for on a day to day basis. Be grateful for the flowers in a public space. Be grateful that you have a job. Be grateful that there is food on the table. Be grateful for yet another day where you can participate in life, no matter what you are doing.
When you are comfortable with recognizing gratitude, start sharing your gratitude with others so you spread happiness beyond yourself. Some of us are shy and find this to be a bit of a step out of our comfort zone. That is okay, you always have grateful thoughts to keep the happiness going. But try, if not once, to show your gratitude to others. It could be a smile, a heartfelt thank you, or merely looking into someone else’s eyes so they know you see them.
This is a powerful gratitude give and so easy for us to remember. Smile at someone you dont know when they do something kind. I love to smile at a store check. It says thank you, and will make their day. Smile at a colleague who did something helpful for you. Smile at your kids, or spouse when they do a nice gesture at home. A smile says ‘I recognize your effort and thank you for it’.
Send a friend a text that shows your gratitude. Thank them for their ongoing friendship, their support, or being a friendly ear when you needed it. Social media makes it easy to share notes of gratitude either with a gif or a image that shows why you are grateful today.
As some of us are going back to in person classes or returning to a physical office, finding a space on a wall to share gratitude notes can change the feeling in the space not only for you but for others as well. Start putting notes of gratitude up on a wall. Label it the gratitude wall if you find that helpful or just start putting up notes. Others will walk by and smile, and just might start participating in posting notes. During the height of the pandemic communities were putting up gratitude walls so we could safely share our gratitude with others as we social distanced.
Gratitude is just one way you can give to others and yourself to increase your happiness and well-being. Check out the 365give Challenge for yourself, your classroom or your workplace. Doing one daily give, every day, changes the world, one give at a time.