Did you know the difference between expressing gratitude and thankfulness? Although “related”, they are distinctly different.
Gratitude vs. Thankfulness
The definition of gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness (Merriam-Webster).
Thankfulness is defined as conscious of benefit received; expressive of thanks, and well pleased. (Merriam-Webster).
I previously wrote an article offering up some ways to show thankfulness throughout the year and found it interesting that gratitude is more like having a sense of thankfulness and the feeling is from within.
Benefits of Showing Gratitude
Showing gratitude has a lot of amazing benefits! Did you know that there was a study showing that if you show gratitude, you are more likely to be healthier and more active than people that do not?!
Practicing gratitude is also an easy way to reduce stress.
Here are some great exercises you can incorporate into your everyday activities to express gratitude.
SAY THANK YOU
I feel that we don’t say “thank you” enough. I was brought up to say please and thank you – all the time. Someone holds the door for you, offers you something, compliments you…you get the idea.
What about writing a note (or simply sending a text in this technological day and age) thanking someone for being a great friend/mentor/parent?
BE A GOOD LISTENER
Next time you ask someone how their day is going or what’s new, listen. If they are open to it, ask more questions (non-intrusive of course) to truly show that you’re interested in what they are saying instead of just asking how they are as a formality in conversation.
OFFER TO HELP
Is there a parent that you know that you feel could use a little help – whether it is child care for a few hours so they can run some errands, take part in some self-care, or maybe just take a nap?
Maybe there is an elderly couple in your neighborhood that you can help with errands – a trip to the grocery store, ride to a doctor’s appointment, or just some company over a cup of coffee.
Offer up some of your free time at a local community center, hospital, or animal shelter. By volunteering your time to help others, you are expressing gratitude and helping out!
The Importance of Expressing Gratitude
It’s one thing to feel gratitude and show it to others but did you know that expressing gratitude has many health benefits?
Expressing gratitude to others helps increase your own overall sense of well-being. I love making others know my true appreciation if they have done something kind to/for me. It’s that simple.
Expressing gratitude inwardly, such as writing in a gratitude journal has been linked to higher levels of enthusiasm, determination, and energy.
Gratitude does not have to be shown by way of a physical gift, but if you’d like to express gratitude to someone with a token of your appreciation, here are some thoughtful ideas:
- A handwritten note mailed – USPS snail mail – expressing your appreciation. There’s something so powerful about the handwritten letter.
- A gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, clothing store, or movie theater. I like gift certificates because you can find one that’s perfect for the recipient based on their hobbies, etc. and he or she can choose exactly what they want.
- A framed photo of you and the recipient or another special photo. Something that when the recipient looks at it, it makes them smile.
- A jar of thanks. Write words of gratitude on little strips of paper and place them into a glass jar. Each morning, the recipient can read a token of appreciation to start their day off on a positive note.
- A plant. People send flowers, which are beautiful and don’t get me wrong I love them, but plants last WAY longer. I love to gift plants for that very reason.
- A book. I love to read and to gift books that hold meaning to me (and to the recipient of course).
I am appreciative and have immense gratitude for you too! Please comment below with what you are most gratuitous for!