Parents often stress to their children the importance of saying “thank you” as an expression of gratitude and thankfulness, and it’s a habit the majority of people carry into adulthood. Saying a heart-felt, thoughtful thank you is not only polite; it also has a positive impact on the health of the recipient as well as the giver.
What if you expressed your gratitude to other people more often and in more creative ways? It seems that would just multiply the good feelings on both sides. Now all you need are some ideas on how to express thankful gestures, so here are 6 for you to consider.
Make someone breakfast in bed. Get up a little early and surprise your spouse or partner with breakfast in bed for no special occasion—other than you are grateful for them being in your life. Note: Be sure to clean up the kitchen too!
Offer to babysit or do respite. What better way to say thank you than to give someone the gift of time—time to do whatever they want. When you make the offer, be sure to be specific about the day and time—you can choose or they can choose, but make a firm commitment. For example, say “I can come next Saturday at 6 PM and stay till midnight” rather than say “I can babysit for you some time.”
Write a poem for someone. You don’t need to be Shakespeare or a poet laureate to write a short poem that expresses your thankfulness. It can be funny or serious, rhyme or be free verse; just make it from the heart.
Give hugs. Nonsexual human touch is important for overall well-being and development, emotional health, immune system function, and bonding. When we touch another person with gratitude by giving a hug, we convey a wealth of positive vibes. Unless it is a person you know intimately, you should ask permission before hugging with a simple request, “May I give
you a hug?”
Leave a kind note. Surprise someone with a short note expressing your appreciation for something they have done, something they said, or for just being who they are. It can be in the form of a sticky note on their computer screen, a note tucked into their lunch, or a card left on their desk or under their windshield wiper. You can sign it…or be anonymous!
Offer a small token of your appreciation. Saying thank you is great, but adding an action to your voice contributes something special to your gratitude. Surprise a colleague with a cup of coffee from a local café. Offer to run an errand for a neighbor. Make a friend his favorite dessert. Leave a pack of stickers in your child’s backpack.
Written by Deborah Mitchell. Deborah Mitchell is passionate about personal health and the well-being of animals and the planet. She has authored, coauthored, and ghostwritten more than 40 books, contributes regularly to several websites, and shares information on physical, emotional, and spiritual health on her blog, deborahmitchellbooks.com.
Williams R. 8 reasons why we need human touch more than ever. Psychology Today. 2015 Mar 28. Accessed August 25, 2017.