50 meaningful ways to express gratitude to others and yourself

Expressing gratitude is not merely saying thanks. I don’t know if everyone understands the importance of gratitude enough in life. 

Gratitude should be truly felt in your heart, in every cell of your being. It is life-changing. The way you express gratitude helps not only yourself but also the people to whom you are expressing gratitude.

Gratitude changes how you view your life. It changes the intensity with which you feel happiness and contentment in life.

It improves the quality of your life by enabling you to express more happiness and positivity. Gratitude is one the greatest gifts you can give to the people in your life as you show appreciation for their presence in your life. 

 The ultimate thing we all want in life is love and appreciation from our loved ones. 

Here are 50 creative ways to express gratitude in life – to yourself, and other people.

  1. Show gratitude by giving compliments. Compliment the person you appreciate by truly talking about the good qualities and skills you admire in them.

2. Write thank you letters. Write small notes to people to show your gratitude and express why you are thankful to have them in life. 

3. Give them a thank you card if you feel too shy or uncomfortable to do it with handwritten notes. If you like being creative, make a handmade gift by simply writing “thank you” on it. 

4. Gift your time. Time is better than any other materialistic gift to give your loved ones. Make time to spend special time with your people regularly like a weekly date with your spouse/kids/parents or a monthly trip to a nearby place. 

5. Be present. When spending time, giving your full attention to people is the best way to show your appreciation. Keep your devices away and be willing to look them in the eyes and listen fully to engage in conversations. It is important to take the time – fully focused time – to improve your relationship with others.

ways to express gratitude - look in the other person's eyes

6. Celebrate their victories. Cheer for them and share happiness as if they are your own.

7. Give them hugs. Hugging helps to release happy chemicals called serotonin and oxytocin which helps to boost our mood. If we can spread a little happiness in their lives, that’s amazing, right?

8. Encourage. Do they tell you about their aspirations but they fear leaving their comfort zone? Encourage them to take the first step so that they can achieve their dreams.

It is a fulfilling thing to help someone in your life achieve the success they deserve. 

9. Decrease their workload. Volunteer to help them with tasks they find hard to do. 

10. Speak your mind. There are times when we are filled with gratitude and love for our loved ones. Instead of burying it in your mind, tell them what you feel bluntly.

You don’t have to be extravagant, but just telling them “Your presence has made so much difference in my life. I don’t know what I would do without you”, can make them feel appreciated and loved.

11. Smile brightly. Even a simple smile can lighten up someone’s day. Gift a smile to your loved ones and to people who serve you – be it the people who work for you or if it is the people who serve you in public places. 

Give unexpected tips to lighten up their day.

12. Gift someone a plant as gratitude. Plants are life and when they grow to produce fruits or give flowers, they remind people about you and it gives them a chance to appreciate your gratitude. 

13. Write in a gratitude journal. Every day, write in your journal about the things you are grateful for and how it enhances your life. Gratitude journaling is one of the best habits we can cultivate in life. 

14. Appreciate nature. Get off from technology and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature around you. Be it the plants at home or the vivid colors the sky paints during the sunset, any element of nature has the power to heal your soul.

15. Find gratitude in challenges. Think about the ways the challenges are benefitting you by switching to a positive perspective. 

ways to express gratitude - find gratitude in challenges

16. Give thanks to your body. We often look at our bodily flaws and worry about them missing out on how our body has been supporting us throughout our life working tirelessly.

Try to really appreciate each body part for what it does even if doesn’t look perfect according to your standards and express gratitude. 

17. Once a month, treat yourself to good things you enjoy – be it food, a spa, or other experiences. 

Related: 101 cheap self-care ideas to refresh yourself and renew your energy

18. Go on a “No Complaining” fast. The complaining habit is what takes us away from appreciating what we have. So go on a fast for 24 hours or 3 days (as much as you like) and focus on the feeling of gratitude whenever you feel like complaining.

19. Reframe your thoughts. Whenever you are reminded of lack or scarcity, change your thoughts to abundance. Think about what you have rather than what you don’t. 

20. Call your parents often and enquire how they are doing. Remembering the other person and calling or texting them is one of the simple ways to show appreciation. 

21. Visit your parents or grandparents. Spend time with them engaging in good conversations and lending a supportive ear to whatever they want to tell you.

22. Visit elderly people who are living alone and gift the presence of your time with them. Help them out with anything they need. 

23. Be compassionate with people. We never know what others are going through, therefore show compassion even if they seem to be in a bad mood. 

24. Have a “good memories” jar. Whenever something good happens in your life – small or big – write it on a small piece of paper and put it in a jar. Read these scrolls when you feel sad or disappointed about life. The memories will remind you of the good times life has gifted you and how they will come again.

25. Give someone a gratitude jar. In each scroll of paper, write reminders to smile and enjoy life and also about the qualities you love about them. Ask them to pick one scroll every other day to lift their spirits. This can be a thoughtful gift to your kids or a loved one who is going through a tough time.

26. Offer to look after your friend’s kids for a day so that she gets a well-deserved rest. Offering help to reduce someone’s workload is a great way to make someone loved.

ways to express gratitude - take care of your friend's kids for a day

27. Prepare food for someone. If a loved one is sick or going through a difficult time, offer to prepare food, and ease them of the task. 

28. Support small businesses. As a token of gratitude for the services, share their business on your social media pages and share your good reviews online and with people you know. 

29. If your loved one has a hobby, gift them with an item they need as a token of encouragement. 

30. If your friend/colleague/family member is going through a hard time, gift them with an experience they will love, like a concert/movie/theme park ticket. 

31. Stop focusing too much on the future. Thinking too much about the future can create a worrying habit. 

Develop a mindfulness habit by focusing on the present moment. Appreciate whatever is going right and express your gratitude for the current moment you are getting to spend in this world.

32. Download gratitude apps. These apps help to record your thoughts on the positives in your life whenever you want to express gratitude. 

33. Make use of gratitude prompts. Another way to express gratitude is by taking a journal and writing down answers to the prompts. This helps you to get into gratitude mode whenever you feel stuck and gives you more ideas for expressing thankfulness.

34. Take the effort to remember the birthdays and anniversaries of your loved ones and use the opportunity to share your gratitude for their presence in your life. It could be as simple as a text message or a social media story. 

35. Do random acts of kindness. Brighten up someone’s day by helping them lift heavy things or by giving candy to a homeless child. There are always opportunities around you to do random acts of kindness. 

ways to express gratitude - do random acts of kindness

36. Do gratitude meditation. There are guided meditations available that help you to get into gratitude mode. Start your day with such meditations to be in good vibes.

37. Say thank you. Always say thank you to people even if it is for small favors. Never take anything for granted. 

38. Teach someone. If you think you can teach someone a craft or share your life lessons with someone who needs it, do it. It is a way of expressing gratitude for the skills you have acquired and the life experiences you have had. 

39. Donate to charity. Donating to a cause you believe in, is an excellent way to pay your gratitude forward.

40. Make family/friends/co-workers a favorite meal of theirs, to express love and care. 

41. Host a get-together of old friends. This will help in fostering good relationships and is a good way to express appreciation for the wonderful times you spent together. 

42. Write thank you letters to your teachers. Or visit them and thank them in person for helping you become the person you are today. Tell them how their words or method of teaching influenced you. It will make their day.

43. Write a thank you note to your family doctor for keeping your family healthy over the years. If you don’t want to write a note, surprise him/her with a gift – it could be anything – a good book or an experience like a concert or a movie. 

44. Be a good person on social media. I have seen people receiving hateful comments on social media channels and YouTube for no reason.

Instead of bashing out random people, think about how you can thank someone for producing excellent content that has helped you. It will brighten up their day.

And if you don’t like someone’s content, keep scrolling and choose to unfollow instead of spewing negativity.

45. Express gratitude for great food/service. If you loved the dish you just ate in a restaurant, call your chef and thank him/her in person. 

If you received a great service in a store, write it in the feedback notebook or say it in person. It’s amazing how a simple word like ‘thank you’ has the power to lift someone’s mood and help them feel more positive about themselves. 

ways to express gratitude - write a thank you note

46. Have daily gratitude practice with family. Every night before going to bed, ask your kids about 3 things that they are thankful for. This will help them to instill gratitude habits early on.

47. Buy flowers for someone. Who doesn’t love a nice bouquet of pretty flowers? Gift someone flowers on a random day to surprise them.

48. Celebrate your wins. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements. Write down a list of things you have accomplished till now in life and express deep gratitude for them.

Those achievements and the experiences on the way made you who you are today. 

49. Forgive others. Holding onto grudges creates a negative energy in life which prevents us from seeing the good things in life.

Forgive, let go, and understand the humanness of others. Say thanks for all the lessons you learned even though the experiences you felt were bitter at that time. 

50. Gift a plant. If the other person is into gardening, gifting a plant is a good way to make them happy.

Gratitude helps people to stay positive in life and taking a few moments every day to express thanks for all the good things and moments in your life can do incredible wonders for your mental health. 

From this post, I hope you got enough ideas to express gratitude to friends, family, and more importantly to yourself.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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