It’s early January and most of us are still feeling optimistic about a new year and showing gratitude for a fresh start, EVERYONE is happy! Everyone is happy and grateful, aren’t they? Unfortunately, we aren't. If this always a true statement, we would be living in a very different world.
Though I’m not always feeling “big grin, teeth showing happy”, I enjoy seeing others basking in the glow of happiness. Since I enjoy seeing that happy glow, it made sense to try to do more things that would result in that glow, more things to make someone else feel “big grin, teeth showing happy”. YES, “big grin, teeth showing happy” is a technical term.
I know what you’re thinking. How can I get my own big grin, teeth showing results?
Stick around, I will be sharing some great steps to show gratitude and some tools to make those steps easier. A thank you can go a long way toward making someone smile and that smile can make someone’s day just a little brighter. I told you, a few easy ways to get your own “big grin, teeth showing happy” vibes going.
What is gratitude?
Harvard Health Publishing describes gratitude as a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.
Keep reading, let’s see how we can acknowledge some goodness in our lives.
#1 Get that daily thank you practice going!
Wait, wait…just relax, daily isn’t that bad! You will the have time to do it, the key is, you have to make the time. The thing to remember is there is no hard and fast rule about how much time you need to spend on this. Start with just a few minutes each day, the key is to start and to start as soon as possible, like today. To start out you can do it while you do any other daily task. Each morning while you are taking a shower, while you are on your morning commute or even during your time on the treadmill.
Take a few minutes to think about the good things from the day before, the great things you know are happening tomorrow or next week. Remind yourself of that great pastry you had and how much it hit the spot, just when you needed it. That split second when you made it into your chair at work on time three days in a row. Remind yourself of the things, big and small that are working and are taking you forward.
My daily practice started while I was pouring coffee every morning. Be careful with this one, coffee is hot when you aren’t paying attention. Yes, yes, I know I’m a dork but be patient with me, the messages here are good so stick with me. For me, it was a rough start, I was going through a lot, what could I possibly find to be grateful for? I had to dig deep and some days, in the beginning, most days I didn’t even remember to do it.
Guess what? The days I did remember I started with some simple things. I was always so grateful to have opened my eyes, to have that cup of coffee to pour and to have another day to find solutions to all the problems, mine and others.
It was rough, it was short, it was inconsistent, but it was MY start. That was a few years ago. I’ll never claim to be the daily gratitude gangsta but I have come a long way. Now, I use a gratitude journal and there are some days I need to put myself on a timer because those thank yous just keep flowing.
All you have to do is start, that is the most important step. Once you start, your practice will grow and evolve as you stick with it. I try not to get into a rut and make an effort to think about new things everyday. I’ve noticed a change in my outlook, most of the time when I am thinking about my life, I’m looking at my glass half full.
#2 Say it!!! Just say "Thank You"
This is one is super easy, some of you might even say it is so easy, it doesn’t count. Well, to the person receiving the message, it does count. Unfortunately, very few people take the time to say the words. If someone does something for you, SAY THANK YOU.
“Something” can be small or big things, not just when someone buys you a car (though you should also be saying it then). That wonderful person just held the door open for me and didn’t let it slam in my face, thank you wonderful person. That extraordinary human just told me I had lipstick on my teeth before I started my presentation in a room full of CEOs. Thank you, extraordinary human. That driver just slowed down at the crosswalk so I could cross without fear of being crushed by a hunk of metal. Thank you, kind driver.
I’m being silly but you get the point. This simple act of saying a thank you, out loud, makes a difference for you and showing your appreciation makes a difference for that person. Just say it.
#3 Go all out on the gratitude, write it!
Yes, in the year 2020 I said write it. The written word has power and in this electronic age, carries even more meaning when received. Research indicates that people who received written thank you messages scored their happiness at 4.5 out of 5. Come on…this one is an easy win!
In more recent years, thank you cards and notes have been associated with more formal interactions like a “Thank you for the opportunity to interview”. Written thank you notes aren’t just for an interview or a gift, use them for everything!
Can’t think of the appropriate occasion? No problem! I still have more suggestions up my sleeve. Though we just passed the holiday season, I KNOW you are getting package deliveries almost every day. No judgement from me, I’m also getting them almost everyday. Think about how appreciated your Amazon or UPS delivery person would feel if they saw a thank you note at the door. That’s a guarantee they’re going home after work and telling the world, that gesture would probably make all the difference on that day.
One week at work, write a thank you note to everyone that completed a project on time, just a few words. An authentic thank you for their hard work and a job well done. Think of how motivated they will feel, think of how much effort those people will put into their next assignment or project.
Handwritten thank notes have always meant a lot to me. I created some thank you cards that can help to make this simple gesture that much simpler. The best thing to do is keep a box of these on hand at all times. I even found a few starter words/phrases to help you get some momentum going. See, no excuse. You can get all the tools, just write it!
We are all moving at such a fast pace, we’re hustling hard. Research indicates that showing gratitude can have significant positive impact, both emotional and physical. Take some time to do just one of these things on a regular basis and you should start to see how much of an impact it has on getting you or someone else to “big grin, teeth showing happy”.
If you’ve had a chance to try any of these or have any other great ideas, share in the comments. The more grins running around, the better.