Acts of Appreciation Keep You in a State of Gratitude
Self-help gurus are often extolling the direct, tangible benefits gratitude can have on us personally, on our families and even on our careers. Even something simple like regularly keeping a gratitude journal can improve the quality of our sleep and increase our overall happiness!
As a busy person, I find it hard to stay in a state of gratitude despite understanding the many benefits to myself and my life—and for having a lot to be grateful for, even in the midst of all the sadness of 2020.
Besides, gratitude has always seemed like too much of a passive concept — I’m an active, extroverted person, I need to DO something!
So, I’ve turned to appreciation.
Appreciation is dynamic, outward reaching and more proactive. Gratitude can seem very internal, whereas appreciation is how you demonstrate, show and tell the world that you are thankful for everyone’s contribution to your state of gratitude. Some psychologists like Dr. Robert Emmons define the concept of as gratitude in stages. First you affirm and recognize that your life is good internally, then in the second stage, you start to exercise external gratitude for those that brought goodness to our lives or made sacrifices, so we could be happy.
Five suggestions for acts of appreciation:
- Write a letter, a real letter to someone who impacted you in a positive way.
- Pay it forward—literally. Buy the person in line behind you a tank of gas, a cup of a coffee, or a meal.
- Give a stranger a true compliment. You know you’ve seen a cute mask past you – actually tell that person you like their fashion statement!
- Tell a key worker that you appreciate them being there. From bus drivers to grocery story workers so many people keep us safe on a regular basis and often hear nothing but complaints.
- Tell your employees/staff/colleagues that you value their contribution to your work. I just conducted a communications audit for a large, multinational corporation and the number one-way people wanted to receive recognition was verbal. It beat out cash bonuses by almost double!
Focusing internally on gratitude has always felt too selfish for me but seeing someone light up when you really recognize and appreciate them always feels good and spreads that feeling of thankfulness.
A friend of mine keeps her acts of appreciation simple and replaces saying “thank you” with the words “I appreciate you”—and she means it!
Try appreciation and see if it helps you stay in a state of gratitude. I appreciate you trying!