This article is part of a series known as #30DaysOfThanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

attitude of gratitude

There are a lot of things I am thankful for: my country upbringing, my literacy, and so many others. Recognizing our blessings, however, simply isn’t enough.

We need to be living a life that reflects the gratitude we feel, and use that as a positive force for those who need help every day. This doesn’t need to be on a large, grand scale.

Sometimes helping others can be as simple as a compliment on what they are wearing, or volunteering to help them move items into their new office space, or delivering a homemade meal on a night when they are busy. I know my day has often been turned around when I get a simple “Hey, you look so nice today!” especially when my day hasn’t been going so great (we can all relate to those not-so-awesome mornings).

When we are grateful, people pick up on that attitude. Like laughter, it is infectious. Being reminded of our blessings allows us to think about how we can help others who have fewer blessings than our own.

We can do a lot of things that can help others. As the holiday seasons approach, whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, remember to have an outlook that conveys gratitude. Count your blessings. Help others count theirs. And to multiply those blessings, help those who need it – because we all know what it feels like to be lost sometimes.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how to help others this holiday season:

1. Ring bells for the Salvation Army

This is always a great choice. You can do other things too beyond ringing bells for the Salvation Army. Their national website allows you to enter your zip code and look for volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.

2. Be a Big Brother or Big Sister

I see it every day – children who need a mentor, or simply someone to talk to. Use that attitude of gratitude to be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Their program has a strong reputation, and our youth are our future.

3. Do some work with your local churches

Religious organizations (regardless of whether or not you are religious!) are great ways to help others. Check out your community’s yellow pages and call a few churches – they are always happy for the help.

4. Visit the elderly and talk with them

One year in December, I visited nursing homes/assisted living places for the elderly. They love having someone to talk to (it can be a lonely time of year for some), and a visit from a young person always makes their day. Be an awesome twenty-something and help those folks in their daily lives.

5. Consider donating to a charity

There are lots out there – just be sure the money is going to a good non-profit. These can be religiously based (like the ELCA Good Gifts program) or something community/national based. If you can’t donate your time to help someone, consider a monetary gift.

[To read: Why Donating to Charity Should Be Part of Your Budget]

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These are just some ideas to get you started. Obviously, there are many things we can do to help others.

In my experience, when you take the time to show someone you care about their well-being, they are usually very receptive. Think about the individuals in your life you can help, and even think on a larger scale. Do some research on places, organizations, or people in your community who could use a helping hand, able body, or just someone who will listen to them. Your efforts will be appreciated.

Let’s live a life that reflects the gratitude we have for our blessings. But more importantly, let’s take that one step further.

After all, it isn’t simply enough to recognize our blessings. We need to pass those good things along. Pay it forward. Help others this holiday season. There is so much we can do to make our world a stronger and more beautiful place for everyone in it.

And finally, even when the holidays do draw to a close: keep up that outlook. Make it a daily practice to help someone, in either small or large ways. Do it for them, knowing that there will be a day where you may need the help.

Live a life that conveys an outlook of gratitude.

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