4 Ways to Express Gratitude Today

Improve your happiness and well-being by expressing gratitude!

“The expression of gratitude is a kind of meta-strategy for achieving happiness.  Gratitude is many things to many people.  It is wonder; it is appreciation; it is looking at the bright side of a setback; it is fathoming abundance; it is thanking someone in your life; it is “counting blessings.”  It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is coping; it is present-oriented.  Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, avarice, hostility, worry, and irritation.  The average person, however, probably associates gratitude with saying thank you for a gift or benefit received.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky, (A.B., Harvard, summa cum laude; Ph.D., Stanford) is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Her honors include a Faculty of the Year Award, Faculty Mentor of the Year Award, a Templeton Positive Psychology Prize, and a million-dollar grant from NIMH to conduct research on the possibility of permanently increasing happiness.

Here are 4 ways to start your journey to happiness by expressing gratitude.


1. Keep a gratitude journal. If you want a daily dose of perspective, a gratitude journal can help you focus on the great things you have in your life. Every day, write down three things you’re grateful for, whether it’s the sunny weather, having a thoughtful spouse or the sound of your child’s laughter. After doing this for a few days, you’ll become more mindful of the blessings in your life.

2. Write a note. Personal notes only take a minute to write, but their impact lasts much longer. Write a note to a person who has had an impact on your life to thank them for their help or kindness. It’s a kind gesture that is sure to make someone’s day.

3. Say “thanks.” It sounds obvious, but a simple ‘thank you’ acknowledges someone for their help and makes them feel special, whether they held the door open for you or helped you with a challenge at work.

4. Pass it on. When someone helps you, pay the kindness forward and help someone else.  Give up your seat in a crowded room or bus, pay the toll for the person behind you on the highway, or help someone carry heavy groceries to their car.  Not only will this brighten someone’s day, it’ll improve your mood as well.

Happiness Activity No. 1: Expressing Gratitude

By definition, the practice of gratitude involves a focus on the present moment, on appreciating your life as it is today and what has made it so.  Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness, is all about that 40 percent.  In the book she describes twelve activities – shown to be successful through science, rather than conjecture – that can increase our happiness.  She describes “why these strategies work and how precisely they should be implemented to maximize their effectiveness using evidence from the latest research.  In every grandmotherly bit of advice lies a kernel of truth.”  She’s chosen “the biggest kernels, established what the data show, and sought to determine for whom these truths might work best and how and why.  Apply these activities to your own life, and you will harness the promise of the 40 percent solution, for such is the amount of wiggle room you have to remake yourself.” The very first Happiness Activity is “Expressing Gratitude.” – Gratefulness.org

Whether on Thanksgiving or all year round, finding that little thing—a beautiful bird in the yard, a kind text message, a meal prepared with care—opens the heart a little and lightens life’s burdens.  So, if you’re in a thankless mood and gratitude is hard for you to find at the moment, look around and see if you can find just a thing or two that might help you feel good about the life you have.  Here are some more resources to help you pursue those goals.

  1. Five Simple Ways to Express Gratitude Each Day – Entrepreneur Magazine online 
  2. The Most Important Part About Thanksgiving
  3. Real Life Thankfulness
  4. The Attitude Shift That Can Help You Get Through Anything
  5. The Power of Thankfulness: Why Your Doctor’s Next Prescription Could Be A Little Gratitude
  6. The Season of Gratefulness


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