Give Thanks: How to Share the Gift of Gratitude

Thank you” is an oft overlooked phrase that has the power to transform both our minds and our bodies.

I keep a simple thank you card on my desk. My wife gave it to me exactly one year ago. Every now and then, I read it again and smile. It means much more to me than the words on the card. It kindles gratitude in me, as well as fond memories and warm feelings.

Thanksgiving

In November in the United States, we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving as a remembrance to the blessings of life. We pause (ironically, before the rush of Christmas shopping) and ponder the life, liberty, and freedoms we take for granted.

Leading up to Thanksgiving this year, I was struck by the words “thanks” and “giving.” While I may be thankful, how often do I actually give thanks to others?

Author William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” How silly would that be? And yet, how often we omit this very important step.

“Why give thanks?” you may ask.

Giving Thanks Gives Back

I’ve written before about the benefits of gratitude. Suffice it to say that cultivating an attitude of gratitude deserves a prominent role in your daily health practices.

A study in The Journal of Happiness Studies reported that those who wrote 3 letters of gratitude over 3 weeks increased happiness and life satisfaction and decreased feelings of depression, compared to those who didn’t write the letters.

However, if you’re skeptical, check out this awesome infographic.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

At this point, you may be wondering…how do I cultivate gratitude?

Give Thanks, Literally

There are numerous ways to cultivate gratitude (like capturing 3 blessings each day). This year, put your your gratitude into action and give a thank you note for Thanksgiving. Let me put it into 3 simple steps for you.

1. Identify Who You’re Grateful For

While you may be thankful for all sorts of things, focus on people. Who has encouraged you, gone out of their way to help you, or is someone you’ve simply taken for granted? Make a list if you need to.

2. Put Your Gratitude In Writing

Not a text message. Not an email. Grab an old-fashioned Thank You card and a pen. Then jot down why you are thankful for that person.

3. Deliver Your Thanks

Hand it to each person in-person if possible. If not, drop it in the mail (or post for my friends across the pond). Don’t hold on to it for the perfect moment. Give thanks.

Free Download

To help you reap the benefits of cultivating gratitude, I created this simple infographic reminding us all to be grateful.

Put Your Gratitude Into Action

Go beyond developing an attitude of gratitude. Give Thanks this Thanksgiving. Both giver and recipient will benefit tremendously. If you’re reading this in a month other than November, don’t wait.

I’ll leave you with a quote. “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

For more on gratitude, check out the links below.

Question: Who is one person you will give thanks to this week? Leave your comments below this post. I look forward to hearing from you. 

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Please note: I encourage reader discussion, however, I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.