34 Ways To Show Gratitude & Have an Instantly Better Life

Woman sits in a pose of a lotus on high place with amazing view of the lake sunset

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gratitude as ‘the state of being grateful, thankfulness. Many fail to understand how gratitude can change a life and alter one’s perception of the good. A life without gratitude is often an unhappy, unfilled life. Putting gratitude in daily life is the first step to achieving your hopes, dreams, and goals.

The thing with gratitude is that it helps you way more than the person you're showing appreciation towards. You will want less when you feel thankful, grateful, and content in your life and experiences. You'll find that you're more satisfied with where you are and what you already have.

Before you know it, how you express gratitude will become a habit. Your mental health will improve, your self-esteem and positive emotions will increase, your depression and anxiety may lift, and negative emotions will decrease. At the same time, your life satisfaction, social relationships, mood, and compassion for yourself and others will soar.

Without further thought, showing gratitude is much more than a simple ‘thanks.’ To improve the quality of your life and the life of others, it is essential to show genuine gratitude for the things you are grateful for, so here are 34 ways you can up the ante and let people in your life know just how much you appreciate them and how to thankful in your daily life.

34 Ways To Show Gratitude and Instantly Have a Better Life

1. Be an Active Listener

Show your gratitude to others by listening to what they say.

2. Give Out Compliments

Make someone’s day by complimenting little things like a great shirt, a friendly smile, or a job well done.

3. Make Eye Contact

Make eye contact when interacting with people and show you are present in the conversation.

4. Give a Detailed Example of Appreciation

Tell someone why you are grateful to have them in your life by citing an example of things they have done or said on your behalf. This is prosocial behavior that will help your relationship quality. It is one of the most significant benefits of gratitude.

5. Be Thoughtful of Others

While you must take care of yourself, it is essential to also think of others first. Consider someone else’s feelings with every action and word.

6. Volunteer for Unpleasant Tasks

Offer to do a chore or errand. By doing these tasks for someone, you make their day easier.

7. Give a Hug

Make a genuine connection with those you love and are grateful to have in your life by giving hugs when greeting, saying goodbye, or saying thanks.

8. Just Be There

Spend time with others, especially during difficult times, without your phone and other distractions.

9. Be Gracious When Challenged

When someone challenges your actions or words, still show grace by listening to what they say and being polite. You never really know what someone else might be going through, so don't take their actions personally and show them kindness (even if it's hard to do). This is a hard lesson and depends on the specific situation, but it does more for you and YOUR well-being to give the other person the benefit of the doubt than to get involved in the chaos.

10. Offer Congratulations

When someone you know is celebrating an achievement, offer your sincere congratulations even if you are not the winner.

11. Show Off Their Gifts

When someone is gracious enough to give you a gift, make sure you wear the clothes in their presence, display their craft on your desk, or make it known you appreciate the assistance by using it.

12. Share Their Joys

Celebrate others’ joys as if they were your own. You'll be given clarity about what truly matters in life, and any confusion about that will slowly slip away.

13. Be Patient

Patience is not everyone’s virtue but gives it your best effort to remain patient with those you love and remember that everyone has their struggles.

14. Share Their Praise

When you receive excellent service or fine hospitality, tell others about the job well done, such as telling supervisors about the excellent service your wait staff provided. When kind words are spoken as an expression of gratitude, the fractals of that kindness will spread out farther than you will ever know.

15. Select Small, Thoughtful Gifts

When you are out and about, select a few small but thoughtful gifts for those you love to show you are thinking about them.

16. Write Handwritten Notes of Thanks

When you receive a gift, handwrite a thank you note mentioning your talent and appreciation.

17. Handwrite ‘Thinking of You Letters.’

Forget emails when sending personal sentiments that let loved ones know you are thinking of them.

18. Handwrite Letters of Encouragement

Skip the texts. When family and friends are having a rough time, handwrite notes of encouragement and inspiration or give them a call and let them get it all out.

19. Write a Love Letter

Address a love letter to those you love – from your spouse to your parents to your children. You will provide them with proof positive they are loved and appreciated. It also helps remind you what you must be grateful for daily.

20. Journal Your Blessings

Take a few moments each night before bed to write down what you appreciated throughout the day. It can be an excellent reflection of how far you’ve come.

21. Be a Support System

When people are in need, step up to be the go-to person they can rely on for support, regardless of their differences.

22. Share Your Talents

If you are a whiz at scrapbooking, money management, or resume writing, share your skills with those in need.

23. Perform a Random Act of Kindness

Kindness is still much appreciated today, so perform random compassion for those you love or a total stranger without looking for praise, such as buying lunch for a homeless person.

24. Pay It Forward

When you order a coffee, pay for the person behind you. When you are at the drive-through, pay an extra $5 for the next person in line. Drop a few different coins in the toll booth on your travels.

25. Tip Well for Good Service

When you receive good service, be sure to offer a good tip that shows those in the service industry how much they are appreciated. It is often a low-paying, unappreciated job others continue to do.

26. Donate to Charity

Skip a pedicure and allocate that money to a charity in your local community.

27. Volunteer Your Time

Spend a few hours at a food bank, an animal shelter, or your church helping others. Sharing your time with those in need can help put your own life into perspective.

28. Host a Gathering for Your Dearest Friends

For no reason, host a group of your nearest and dearest to say thank you for all they’ve done.

29. Help a Stranger in Need

While riskier now than in decades past, helping a stranger can make you feel great. If you can’t change a flat tire, hang out nearby until the tow truck arrives. If you pick a “weird vibe” or anything else that makes you funny, trust your gut and get out of there. You can always show gratitude later that day.

30. Share Your Material Possessions

Don’t be stingy with the things you do have. Be willing to share your possessions with those you love and those less fortunate.

31. Say You’re Sorry

No matter how mad you get or how right you are, be willing to say you are unfortunate to those you genuinely love and appreciate. Be ready to compromise in life. A saying goes, “You can either be right, or you can be happy.” Plus, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

32. Visit The Sick and Elderly

Spend time with those who may not have anyone else. A Saturday morning visit to the nursing home or the ill ward at the local hospital can brighten everyone’s day. Think about how you might appreciate that when you're elderly, your physical health may deteriorate.

33. Always Say Thank You

Always say thank you no matter how small or big the favor was. Say it to family, friends, co-workers, and kids. A heartfelt thank you can go a long way. I always try to say it to the bus driver as I get off the bus because their job seems so thankless.

34. Smile

All the time! Share a smile with loved ones and strangers on the bus. While not everyone will smile back, it is worth the effort to keep doing it. Smiles are contagious, so do your part to make happiness and gratitude go viral.

The bottom line is that a gratitude culture gives humans more resilience and acceptance by helping our denial lessen. Through meditation, gratitude journals, and the daily practice of gratitude (maybe in a gratitude group with friends?), life can improve instantly with some mindset shifts.


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