Gratitude: 45 Ways to Express it Year-Round

by | Nov 24, 2020 | Life Lessons

“I am grateful for the good in my life.”

(I open with this affirmation in honor of my recently departed brother, Kevin G. Harris, who recited this affirmation often. Kevin, I remain grateful for you, your love and kindness. Rest in Peace).

In the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a holiday to gather with our loved ones, express gratitude toward one another and for all the good things in our lives, to remember those who have departed us, and be thankful for making it through life’s difficulties. It is a celebration filled with family, food, and fun.

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post on gratitude because while Thanksgiving is a day, gratitude is a mindset and one that we can carry with us into each day.

I’ve curated a list of 45 Ways to Express Gratitude Year-round. I am looking forward to implementing many of these over the next year. Join me.

  1. Make a list of the people closest to you and send thoughtful, handwritten thank you notes to each. Include a favorite memory you share and let them know how much they mean to you.
  2. Gift a personalized gratitude journal. Post a sticky note on one of the pages expressing your gratitude for them.
  3. Meditate using a guided meditation on gratitude. Ask friends to join you.
  4. Like and write positive and supportive comments on your friends’ social media feeds.
  5. Mail a loved one a care package or gift basket filled with the recipient’s favorite things…don’t forget to drop a thank you note in the package.
  6. Make this the year that you acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries to all those who are special in your life.
  7. Watch this short video I created with gratitude quotes. View it several times throughout the year.
  8. Write a poem or letter, frame it and give to a loved one on their special day or just because.
  9. Before eating dinner with family or friends, have each person share something they are grateful for.
  10. Share positive reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, etc.
  11. Light a candle for loved ones who have died and let it burn throughout the day as a day of remembrance and gratitude. You may decide to light it on their special day (birthday, wedding anniversary, transition day, or other occasion that is memorable).
  12. Post gratitude sticky notes throughout your house. When you approach them, stop and recite the gratitude.

 “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”

~ David Steindl-Rast 

  1. Count 100 blessings. This is a fun activity to do with children.
  2. Forgive someone who has wronged you. Let go of negative emotions, even if that person is no longer in your life.
  3. Call your loved ones more often. Make it something you and they look forward to each time.
  4. Place a message in a bottle and put it where it will be noticed before being tossed.
  5. Schedule your annual wellness check. Show your body how grateful you are for all that it does to support you each day.
  6. Start a gratitude group. Gather a group of friends to meet once a month to talk about everything that’s going well and why you’re grateful.
  7. Read books or listen to podcasts on gratitude.
  8. Get involved in a cause in your community.
  9. Take coffee to the security guards, police officers, or essential workers who are helping to keep you safe.
  10. Buy or make a gratitude rock and carry it in your pocket. Throughout the day, notice it and express what you’re thankful for in that moment.
  11. Call past mentors and teachers and let them know how grateful you are for their belief in you.
  12. Leave a generous tip for excellent service.
  13. Make gratitude cards with your child to give out to his or her classmates.
  14. Support a friend’s endeavor.

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

~ Karl Barth

  1. Send a text note to your significant other, family or friend and let them know you’re thinking of them and so happy they are in your life.
  2. Download a gratitude app and make a habit of focusing on gratitude as part of your daily routine.
  3. Pray for your loved ones, community, state, nation, and the world.
  4. Create personalized gratitude affirmations, record them on your phone, and playback upon waking or right before going to sleep, when doing housework or when taking a long drive.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal, either hardcopy, online, or make your own with the prompts that have special meaning to you.
  6. Create a gratitude time capsule and place it under lock and key to open at some future date…2025?
  7. Hug your pets and thank them for their unconditional love.
  8. Gift a book by the recipient’s favorite author (signed copies are a bonus).
  9. Gift a playlist filled with songs by the recipient’s favorite artists.
  10. Start a gratitude challenge with a group of friends (e.g., each day for 30 days, they are to share with the group what they are grateful for and how they expressed gratitude that day).
  11. Instead of creating a vision board, create a gratitude board with a collage of pictures that reflect all you’re thankful for and what makes you happy. 

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~ Melody Beattie

  1. Take a walk in your neighborhood and notice all the things you see on your walk that you’re grateful for. This is an excellent activity to do with your child.
  2. Create a gratitude jar and place messages of gratitude; read one each day for 365 days.
  3. Invite a close family member or friend over for dinner and surprise them by making their favorite meal.
  4. Give an anonymous donation in whatever amount you can afford to a cause you care about.
  5. Watch the sunrise or sunset with someone you love.
  6. Donate coats, gloves, and hats that are new or lightly worn to a charity or a person you know is in need.
  7. Create your personal lifeline that starts from the day you were born to now. List the highs and lows along the lifeline and say a prayer of thanks for every high and low point. Send thank you notes to those who helped you get through rough patches in your life.
  8. Post anonymous sticky notes of gratitude in public places for other people to find. See Operation Beautiful.

There is literally no end to the multitude of ways to express our gratitude. I hope you’ll use this list and let it spark many more ideas as you create a mindset and daily practice of expressing gratitude for all that’s good in life.

I want to thank you for supporting me and my Your Aha! Life endeavors. Every time you read, view or listen, comment, and share my blog articles, podcasts, videos, or social media posts, you’re supporting my dream of spreading messages of positivity, empowerment, and hope. I am humbled by and grateful for your support.

With gratitude.

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