Being grateful is not only essential to making others in your life feel important but it helps you feel important as well. When we show our gratitude, we are recognizing those things that make us happy, no matter how small they may seem.
“Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ ” – the Dalai Lama
People who are grateful do many things to show that they are, from writing down the little things for which they are grateful to telling the people in their life that they appreciate them.
They don’t do these things:
1. They don’t assume their life will always be good.
People who are very grateful for what they have know that things could go awry at anytime. They know that despite their best efforts, sometimes life throws us curveballs and we could still lose our job — or our home. No matter what, people who are grateful for what they have, assume that sometimes bad things will happen. They are grateful for what they have anyway.
2. They don’t expect to get something in return.
People who are highly grateful do things for others because they want to. Not because they expect to get something in return. Do something nice for someone you love — or even a perfect stranger. Get them a cup of coffee, write them a short note, smile. You never know how your little act of kindness might find its way into someone else’s heart.
3. They don’t avoid thinking about death.
People who are highly grateful understand that death and loss linger at the doorstep. While they don’t dwell on it, they don’t avoid thinking about it either. Remembering that at any moment a loved one could be taken from you helps you appreciate the here and now.
4. They don’t get impatient.
It’s easy to get impatient, even when people are doing something for us — like serving us lunch or we are waiting in line. Try to remember that even though it may be their job, these people are serving us. Be grateful for that. Service jobs are some of the hardest they are and highly grateful people recognize that. They don’t get upset if the waitress mixes up their order and they don’t start sighing heavily in a long line. Relax and show your gratitude once you get your lunch or get to the front of the line.
5. They don’t frown.
Well, maybe they do once in a while, but not often. Highly grateful people make an effort to smile at others no matter where they are. If you’re in the library, the store or your own living room, highly grateful people recognize that frowning and looking sour isn’t pleasant for anyone. Smile. It will make you and the people you meet feel better.
6. They don’t miss an opportunity to say “thanks!”
This may seem obvious, but highly grateful people say “thank you.” A lot. It’s important to let people know that you appreciate the work they do — whether they are your employees, your kids, your spouse or people on the street. Sometimes a simple, genuine thank you can make the day of another person who might feel like they are going on with their work unnoticed and unappreciated.
7. They don’t neglect themselves.
Sometimes the only person who can adequately thank you for a job well done is you. People who are highly grateful don’t miss the chance to boost themselves up with a little gratitude as well. Take some time to write down a few good things about yourself or take yourself out for a special day. Go to a museum you like, get an ice cream cone — whatever you like, do it just for you.
8. They don’t get easily upset.
People who are highly grateful try to remain calm and light, even in a stressful situation. When you are highly grateful for what you have, you recognize that even big issues at work or home are really not that big in the grand scheme of things. Remember that while this might be a “catastrophe” at work — is it really? If no one is hurt and no one is getting fired, then try to remain calm and rectify the situation without getting everyone upset over it.
9. They don’t avoid social media.
But they do use it mindfully. People who are highly grateful use social media in the same way they talk to people at work or in their home. They try to be a positive force and not tear others down just because it’s the Internet. According to the New York Times, good news spreads faster on the Internet than bad news. Highly grateful people recognize this and use their social media accounts for good.
10. They don’t underestimate the value of little things.
A kind word. A small flower. A baby’s smile. Even the smallest things mean a lot to a highly grateful person. This can be crucial on a bad day — or when things are not going your way. A simple compliment or a good laugh can make anyone’s day — even in the midst of something not pleasant, like a hospital visit or a tedious job assignment.