Whether you’re a philosopher, science, or person of faith (or all three!), living graciously and being thoughtful about showing your gratitude is essential to a happy life. Showing respect to the people and places around you, and expressing thanks that they are there is not only better for you, but better for the world around you as well. There are simple steps you can take on a weekly basis that will easily inject more of graciousness, gratitude, and happiness into your life.
Show love to the things you love. Would you be lost without your local NPR station? Have you been silently reading someone’s blog for years? Have you missed the last dozen opportunities to tell family members you love them? Show some affection! Donate a couple bucks to your favorite radio station instead of chowing down on some Chipotle. Email your blogger of choice with a note from the heart. Call up your mom, dad, brother, sister, significant other, etc. and tell them you care. They will all appreciate your kindness and you will feel better having your love and support.
Be the best best friend. Is there someone in your life who you have no idea where you would be or who you would be without? Embody your inner Leslie Knope and be the best best friend ever. Send them flowers or, even better, pizza to their office. Tell them you’re coming over with their favorite snacks and no cell phone so you can enjoy each other’s company and really be present during the conversation. Surprise them with a bottle of champagne and toast to him or her just because you can.
Take it to work. There’s no reason your attitude has to be restricted to your personal life! Make a conscious effort to tell people you work with when they’re doing a good job, both those above and below you. Bring in coffee or donuts because it’s Monday and everyone will thank you. Write more thank you notes, to everyone.
Show gratitude toward those you respect. Is there a group, organization, or person you immensely respect? Show them your gratitude. Show a non-profit you’re proud of what they are doing by volunteering with them. Ask your local veteran’s administration what you can do for those who have served our country. Tell your mentor or favorite teacher or professor how much your respect them.
Living graciously isn’t something that is hard to do. It is, however, something you may need to be conscious about, at least at first. Try doing one gracious act every week, then every day. Before you know it, being thoughtful about your gratitude will, in fact, be second nature.