“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
– William Arthur Ward

Giving thanks every monthShowing gratitude is one the simplest and most powerful things we can do, but people aren’t hardwired to be grateful. Gratitude requires practice and what better time than Thanksgiving to do just that?

Dr. Robert Emmons, author of “Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” says there are three simple steps:

  1. Recognizing what we’re grateful for
  2. Acknowledging it
  3. Appreciating it

The benefits of showing gratitude can be significant:

  • Gratitude helps us realize all of the good that surrounds us.
  • Gratitude strengthens relationships, reduces stress, improves health and makes us generally happier.
  • Gratitude puts things into perspective.

During November, the month of Thanksgiving, we hear a lot about being thankful. Here are eight ways to cultivate gratitude year-round:

  1. Give at least one compliment a day. You’ll find that you’ll start receiving more compliments, too!
  2. Vow not to complain, criticize or gossip for two weeks. Take note of the amount of energy you were spending on negativity.
  3. Sound genuinely happy to hear from someone who calls you. The caller will feel valued.
  4. Become involved with a cause that’s important to you. Donate your time, talent or money to gain a deeper appreciation for the cause.
  5. When something bad happens, think about what you’ll be grateful about looking back on it without emotion.
  6. Look at your day-to-day life through the lens of gratitude. You’ll be amazed by all of the good things you take for granted.
  7. If you notice someone or something with a negative trait, switch your brain to think of something positive about the same person or thing.
  8. Gratitude requires humility, which is defined as “modest and respectful.” Where and how does humility fit in to your life?

Remember to be genuine when expressing gratitude. And, when someone gives you a compliment, accept it graciously with a smile and a thank you.