Most folks find it effortless to thank you, as it just rolls off the tongue. The problem is that you say these two words every day and don’t think much about them. For example, when you stopped to get a coffee on the way to work, you said “thank you” to the clerk who handed you your change. That’s not to say you should not be grateful.

But this phrase can mean everything or nothing at all. You’re not thankful you got change back, but you’re being polite. There’s a significant difference between someone who shows gratitude and those who use the term for lip service.

It all comes down to being appreciative. Being grateful comes from a different place deep inside, and it’s about more than a phrase you use repeatedly. Most parents want their children to grow up and show gratitude, but you must be willing to live by example to teach your children.

A typical scenario is to examine two children from different financial circles. One child gets everything they want and could care less if their parents buy them another new outfit, as they already have an overflowing closet. However, that new outfit would mean everything to a child who doesn’t have much and only wears hand-me-downs.

So many kids grow up having everything handed to them, and they aren’t thankful for their blessings. It’s time for parents to stand up, change this entitled dynamic, and help their kids be more grateful for all they have.

Eight Ways to Show Gratitude…Back up Your Words with Positive Action

Showing thankfulness is not always easy, especially when you’ve had a bad day or don’t feel well. However, you must realize that people are watching you, especially your family. Your kids see how you react during the good and challenging times, and you must have the right attitude. Here are some ways to show gratitude more in your life and be a more positive person.

show gratitude

1. Making Thanksgiving a Habit

Did you know that you can make appreciativeness a habit? Do you tend to complain a lot about the smallest things in your life? Well, instead of always focusing on the bad stuff, why not develop an attitude of gratitude?

Each day, make an effort to recite what you’re thankful for and make it a fun game with your children. Some people use sticky notes to post these things, or you can write them down on paper or a whiteboard. Here are some things that you can be grateful for each day:

  • A lovely home to live in
  • A car to get you where you need to go
  • Clothes and shoes to wear
  • Food to eat
  • A family who loves you
  • Toys/books/video games and extra things to do together
  • A job that pays the bills
  • A supportive partner

When you start teaching your children to be grateful for their house, they will think and treat it differently. Why not take them to an area where you see homeless people? They will learn to appreciate that home more when considering the options.

Sometimes, parents must give children a glimpse at the harsh realities of life to realize the blessings. It’s a lesson for everyone in the family when you step into someone else’s shoes for just a moment.

2. Communicate Your Why You Feel Gratitude

You miss many opportunities each day to display your gratitude for all to see. For instance, assume your spouse started your car and warmed it up for you before work. By thanking them publicly and telling your family how nice it is to have someone who goes the extra mile, you’re displaying how to show gratefulness.

What about the nice big backyard or a nearby park where your little ones play? Why not remind them of how nice it is to have ample space for them to enjoy the great outdoors? You are showing them thankfulness, but you’re causing them to be present at the moment. They will look at that yard again with fresh eyes and see all the things they might have taken for granted.

3. Make Random Gestures of Kindness

One thing you can try with your family is making gestures that show gratitude. For instance, having your family help out at a local food pantry or soup kitchen is one way to offer such Thanksgiving. You won’t have to say a word, but the mere act of serving those less fortunate will be lesson enough.

There’s always someone who has less than you, and if you stop your busy life and help for just a moment, it can change your perspective on many things. It’s a humbling experience to serve a fellow human being who may be down on their luck, and it shows not only gratitude but kindness.

4. Smile More Often to Show Gratitude

It’s impossible to have a heart full of thankfulness and walk around with a frown. Please notify your face if you’re happy and thankful for life’s blessings. You get the opportunity to show the world your attitude of gratitude by simply changing the expression on your face. Don’t think your spouse and kids won’t notice a change in your countenance.

When you have an ear-to-ear grin, it helps you feel better. Did you know smiling is contagious? According to a study from Penn State, you activate the orbitofrontal cortex in the brain when you smile. Something as simple as beaming can release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

These hormones will help relax you, reduce stress, and lower your blood pressure and heart rate. As the cherry on top, it will lift your mood. The next time you feel down and out, start smiling; it will change you and those around you. Plus, it’s easier to show gratitude when smiling rather than frowning.

show gratitude

5. Act Without Reward

The biggest blessings in life often come from the simplest gestures. Doing things like paying for the food for the car behind you, covering someone’s groceries in the line at the supermarket, or paying the toll across the bridge for another vehicle can boost your thankfulness.

The grateful waves that reverb from such an act put goodness into the atmosphere. Not only does it help you, but it profoundly helps someone else. Plus, your kids are sitting in the back seat as you do these things, and they will never forget when you show kindness and love to others.

6. Be Present

How often have you shown up to a family dinner or event, but you’re not there? Your mind is 100 miles away, and you’re on your cell phone or thinking about work. One way to show thanksgiving for your blessings is to be present and pay attention.

It’s challenging to clear your mind and be present with folks at a time. However, you’ll find it much easier to show appreciation when you engage with those who mean so much to you. Put your phone and all distractions away and open your ears and mind to be a good listener.

7. Grow and Become a Better Person

Someone who is genuinely grateful for their blessings will want to further it. When you grow, you want to spread your attitude of gratitude around. If you find yourself taking things for granted, it will result in complacency, which will only stunt spiritual and emotional growth.

Life is full of little lessons that help you become a better person, but you’re stagnating if you’re not growing and becoming better. Have you ever been around a water source that doesn’t move or get enough oxygen? It smells like rotten eggs because it’s stagnated. Seize every opportunity in life to become a better you and never decline.

8. Give Hugs to Show Gratitude

Like smiling, hugging someone also releases those feel-good chemicals and is just as beneficial for you as the person on the receiving end. According to Step to Health, hugging can be as powerful for your heart as cutting out all salt. It’s pretty profound to think that such a small gesture has such an impact.

Plus, consider the benefits to the other person who needed that hug and feel your warmth. It might be what keeps them going the rest of the day. Another study from the National Library of Medicine found that couples that hug more often have higher levels of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, surging through their bodies. Additionally, experts found these people can live longer due to better heart health.


Final Thoughts on How to Show Gratitude Through Action, Instead of Uttering Empty Words

The next time you utter the words “thank you,” stop and realize if you’re paying someone lip service or if you genuinely mean it. There are many other ways to show gratitude towards others and teach your children the benefits of a heart of thanksgiving. What can you do today to change the world around you by simply being more grateful?