10 Ways to Express Gratitude


Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash

Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher


Philosophers and poets have long praised gratitude as one of the most desirable attitudes. Surely, each of us has much to be thankful for. Why not express our gratitude? It costs us nothing, yet yields countless benefits. Looking for ways to show and acknowledge gratitude? Here are 10 to try that are simple, quick and easy.

Say a kind word.

The quickest, simplest and easiest way to demonstrate gratitude is to say thanks to another. If you don’t have a specific item to express thanks for, saying a few kind words is just as effective. Kind words earnestly spoken are like healing balm to a troubled soul. They work equally well for those who are stressed, feel unappreciated, are lonely, ill, tired or just a bit anxious or depressed. Besides, don’t you feel a little better when someone has a kind thing to say to you?

Include others in your plans.

Chances are you know someone who’s alone or lonely, maybe just someone who could use some time away from being a caregiver for a loved one. What extra would it take for you to invite that individual to accompany you on an outing, to share a coffee or beverage at a nearby restaurant, take in a movie, or go for a walk? When you include others in your plans, it lets them know you’re thinking about them and value their friendship. It’s also an effortless way to express your gratitude.

Listen intently.

I know I’m guilty of sometimes thinking so hard about what I’m about to say next that I fail to grasp the essence of what another person is saying. That’s a common trait that can be corrected, although it takes effort and practice. When I stop editing my next comments and listen actively and intently to the other person, and show by my body language that I’m in the moment in their conversation, it shows I respect and appreciate them. This is a lesson each of us must learn.

Bring over lunch.

Preparing meals, especially if you’re overworked and chronically stressed, is often akin to a dreaded chore. Don’t you know someone who’d be delighted if you’d surprise them with a tasty lunch? Maybe it’s a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend or loved one who could use a little lift that you can easily bring with an inexpensive lunch. What a wonderful way to show your gratitude for all this person means to you.

Pay an impromptu visit.

How often have you heard others welcome you to drop by and pay them a visit? If the comment is genuinely expressed, pay heed. This is a subtle invitation to spend some time with that individual. They’re asking you to come over. When you do, even if it’s a quick visit on your home from work or church or shopping, it lets that person know you care – and listened to their previous offer.

Email to check in.

If you’re busy and can’t take the time for an in-person visit, there’s always email. Dash off a thoughtfully worded communication to let another person know he or she is in your thoughts. Add some entertaining or informative items to round out the note.

Call to say hello.

I love to hear a loved one’s voice on the phone. It’s much more personal than an email, although it doesn’t take the place of a physical visit. You’d be surprised how satisfying a call can be. It is a quickly-handled way to say hello – and will be much appreciated by the recipient. Even if you both are short on time, the exchange of pleasantries stimulates a sense of well-being.

Ask if there’s anything you can do.

Like most people, I don’t like having to ask others for help. That’s something that was instilled in me as a child, to be self-sufficient and do things for myself. Sometimes, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the things on your to-do list. Since we all feel this way, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help – and mean to follow up on your offer if it’s accepted.

Pick flowers from your garden and deliver to a friend.

A bright bouquet of flowers is a cheery way to express your gratitude. They don’t call them “Thank You” bouquets for nothing. Yet, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to show someone how much you appreciate them. Pick some blooms from your garden and take them to a deserving friend. Their smile of appreciation will say it all.

Offer to do an errand, help with chores.

When I was raising my children, there never seemed to be enough time to get everything done. Laundry, preparing school lunches, setting out clothes for them to wear the next day, making sure their homework was done and many more parental responsibilities ate up whatever spare time I had. I would have loved to take a friend up on an offer to run an errand for me, or to help me sort laundry or clean cluttered kids’ bedrooms. Sadly, I didn’t have anyone around to help, although I’m keenly aware of how much appreciated such assistance would be to an overworked mom. For that reason, if I have an opportunity today, I offer to help someone else that I care about. It doesn’t have to be housework, either. Helping a co-worker with a project, volunteering, taking a family member’s kids to the park all count, too.

In addition to expressing your gratitude and making someone else feel better, you’re likewise reaping benefits from your words and actions. Consider gratitude a virtue, for it’s a trait unique to our species.

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This article was originally published on Psych Central.

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5 Hidden Benefits of a Good Massage

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash


Aside from the fact that a good massage makes you feel better, what are some of the other benefits to this practice? As a longtime advocate for massage, I decided to delve into its not as well-known aspects to see what else it offers beside a well-spent hour on the table. What I discovered are the following five hidden benefits of a good massage.

Massage loosens muscles

Being in physical therapy for a recent low back pain episode means I’m working muscles that have not seen regular activity for some time. That results in soreness that proves I’m doing things right, but it’s also a little uncomfortable. While the therapy starts with dry heat and then massage before exercise, I also find that getting a good massage at times other than during physical therapy helps loosen those tight, sore muscles.

I’ve also taught myself how to deliver a good self-massage. I also use a hand-held massager called the Thumper that helps break up knots in muscles.

The lymphatic system gets a workout

There is a type of massage known as lymphatic massage or lymphatic drainage that stimulates the lymphatic system. The benefits of such stimulation are improved metabolism, removal of bodily waste and toxins, and promotion of a healthy immune system. Some people are prescribed lymphatic massage following breast cancer or other surgeries. But this gentle form of massage, alone or in conjunction with deep tissue or Swedish massage, is also helpful for those with a sports injury, emotional problems, stress, low energy, illnesses or an impaired immune system. During the massage, the therapist exerts gentle pressure and pumps toward the direction of the lymph nodes throughout the body. A combination of deep thumb pressure (shiatsu) and Swedish techniques help relax the body. The therapist may focus on one area requiring attention (at the request of the client) or do a whole-body workout.

Stress and tension melt away

Everyday stress is unavoidable in today’s fast-paced world. Tension headaches, tightness in your shoulders, stomach aches and assorted pains are major signs of built-up stress. The confident hands of an expert massage therapist help melt all that stress and tension away during the session. This is a case where you don’t need to do anything other than relax and feel your body ease a sigh of relief. As you breathe in and out, visualize the stress and tension escaping, like a dark cloud being chased by the wind. The warmth you feel is like the sun bringing life and energy to every part of your body.

Circulation improves

For people with impaired vascular function or limited mobility, research has shown that regular massage may offer significant benefits, especially in improved circulation. A study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that massage helped improve vascular function in people who had not exercised. Researchers said this suggested the benefits of massage for circulatory function for anyone regardless of level of physical activity. Those with physical injury who underwent massage showed improved blood flow and vascular function was changed at a distance from the site of the injury and the massage. When you’re on the table, you can almost feel your circulation changing. At least, I can. This can’t be just my imagination. My massage therapist says my overall skin color – a nice pink – is evidence of the improved circulation. No wonder I feel good afterward.

Massage contributes to healing – especially after surgery

One of massage’s biggest benefits, in my opinion, is how it aids in healing the body post-surgery. Having had several surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome, a reconstructed leg, cyst and tumor removal and so on, I can attest to the relief from pain that strategic therapeutic massage or massage therapy delivers. When you alleviate pain, your body is better able to heal. There’s less focus and concentration on what hurts, and the body does what it does best: function properly. This means all-systems go for jumpstarting healing. Yet it doesn’t only apply to those who’ve had surgery. Any painful injury or overworked muscles can be helped through massage. Just be sure the massage therapist knows where it hurts and tell him or her how much pressure to use. The idea isn’t to feel pain, but to allow the therapist to take you just up to that point while breathing in and out deeply. Releasing tense muscles, easing the stiffness and helping alleviate pain are the end results of a good massage that are worth any temporary discomfort.

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This article was originally published on Psych Central.

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