The importance of being thankful can’t be underestimated. It not only makes us feel better; it makes the world a little brighter. To express gratitude towards those who are kind or helpful to us is part of the American culture. It’s why we say “thank you” when people hold the elevator or pass the mashed potatoes at family dinners.
With the holidays upon us, our thoughts turn to being thankful for family, for friends, for our professions – whatever it is that makes us remember how great it is to be a part of something bigger than us.
Ways to Express Gratitude that Don’t Cost a Thing
We want to express gratitude to our loved ones, but sometimes we feel obligated to spend money or time that we don’t think we have. So in the interest of expressing our gratefulness and thanks to those who help us along the way, we’ve developed a list of ways to say thanks that cost little and give so much.
- Say thank you – always. It may seem obvious, but a simple “thank you” goes a long way.
- Smile at strangers. When you smile, it shows that you’re happy and non-aggressive. By smiling at everyone you pass, you’re passing along that good mood. (Studies have proved it; a smile decreases stress and makes other people less stressed, too.)
- Meditate, pray or sit quietly and reflect. Being thankful for what you have can increase your own good feelings and decrease personal stress. By reflecting upon those feelings, you’re giving yourself time to perpetuate them – both in yourself and for those around you.
- Volunteer at a local charity. Volunteer work is not only good for society; it’s good for your soul. Being thankful for what you have seems much easier when you help others who have less. It’s perfectly normal to engages in volunteer activities that make you feel good about yourself, as those good feelings will, most likely, lead you to continue to do good works.
- Keep a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be an arduous task. If you express gratitude in writing on a regular basis, you’ll see how much good there is in your life every time you open it. It can also help you get through more difficult times by reminding you how much you have to be grateful for.
- Spend time with your family and friends. Even if your family is kooky, they’re still yours – and being thankful for your family and loved ones can help you appreciate them more. It may also help you build strong bonds between you and your children as an added bonus.
Being Thankful for What You Have as a Teenager
As adults, we understand the importance of gratitude. But for teens who are undergoing massive changes (culturally, hormonally, ideologically – the list goes on), it can be hard to find a reason to say “thanks.” As any private investigator or police person can tell you, teenagers around the country run away every year to escape their living situations. Perhaps that’s because most teens don’t know that being thankful can lead to:
- Better mental health
- Better grades in school
- Increased confidence levels
- Closer and deeper friendships
- Healthier sleep
- Healthier hearts
By teaching our kids to express gratitude more often, we’re giving them a boost of positive reinforcement that could let them have happier, more productive lives.
Inspirational Quotes for Being Thankful
To sum up, we leave you with these thoughts about gratitude and thankfulness:
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘Thank You’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” – Elizabeth Gilbert