positively present picks: june 20, 2014
positively present picks: june 27, 2014

getting grateful: 4 ways to say thank you

Thank YouEmily McDowell

One of the most important aspects of living a positive, present life is being grateful. The more thankful you are for the people, experiences, and things you have in your life, the easier it is to stay positive and remain in the moment. Like many kids, I was raised to send thank you notes whenever I received a gift or someone did something nice for me. Unlike most kids, I actually loved writing these notes. Not only was it a chance to pick out pretty stationery (yay!), but it gave me an opportunity to reflect on what I'd received (and how lucky I was to have received it). As a kid, I don't think I fully got it, but now I really get what it means to be grateful. And, more importantly, I get how important it is to embrace that gratitude and then share it with others. 

It might sound cliche, but I've experienced first hand how much gratitude can transform almost any situation. As the quote above states, it's pretty hard to be negative when you're being grateful. The more you fill your heart with thankfulness, the more your attention is directed to what you have, not what you lack. Thankfulness makes you more positive by allowing you to appreciate what you have and it keeps you in the moment by focusing your attention on what's worthy of your gratitude in the present.

Sometimes we don't share gratitude with those around us, even when we feel really, really grateful. Simple as it is, telling others how grateful you are — for a gift, for an act of kindness, for just being there — can be a way to increase positivity in your life. By sharing how you feel, you not only make others feel good (who doesn't love to be thanked?), and, in doing so, you make yourself feel even better. Even though it feels great to be grateful, we don't always show it. Sometimes it's because we don't remember to, but sometimes it's because we aren't quite sure how.

If you're not quite sure how to express your gratitude, here are some of the best ways to take that thankfulness, package it up, and give it to those who would love to know what a positive impact they've had on you. If you want a positivity boost this week, I'd highly recommend doing one of these things!



Sending thank you notes is one of my favorite ways to express gratitude, and it's something that most people really appreciate. Emails work well, but if you want to go the extra mile, send an actual card. In the mail. I've recently discovered Cardstore, where you can send customized cards. They're cheaper than most cards in the store and they send the card for you so even if you're super busy (who isn't?!), you can go online, pick out the perfect thank you, customize it, and send it without having to make a trip to the store or worry about finding a stamp. Check out their thank you cards here.



Another great way to express gratitude is by doing something nice for the person who did something nice for you. It doesn't have to be a big thing, but doing something kind in return will express to your thank-you-deserving friend that you appreciate what he or she did for you and you want to return the favor. A few small acts of kindness you can do: pick up his/her favorite treat, offer to baby/petsit, send flowers or cookies (yum!), donate to his/her favorite charity, run a less-than-fun errand for him/her, give a huge, unexpected hug, or plan a fun day of his/her favorite activities. 



When it comes to saying thank you, a little creativity can go a long way. Consider how you might connect your thankfulness to the gift/experience. For example, let's say a friend picked you up in the middle of the night in a bad neighborhood when your car broke down. Instead texting, "Thank you!," what about sending a cape with a note reading, "You're a true superhero"? Or if a friend picks up your kids from school when you have to stay late at a meeting, send a pack of Lifesavers with a note saying, "You're a lifesaver!" These might sound silly, but creative thank yous are sure to delight the person deserving of thanks (or at least make him or her laugh!).



Nothing brightens someone's day like a smiling face. If someone does something nice for you, take a phot of yourself enjoying the experience or thing and send it to him or her. Whenever I've sent someone a gift and they send me a photo of themselves enjoying it, I feel so thrilled that they like it. If the gratitude-worthy situation doesn't lend itself to a photo of the experience/thing, you can just take a happy photo of yourself smiling and feeling grateful and send that along. To see your happy face is probably why someone did something kind for you in the first place, after all! 


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Love your idea to take a gratitude photo! So many wonderful thank you suggestions!

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