Gratitude: Grease for Your Happiness Gears

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone!

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to talk a bit about gratitude.  Appreciating and expressing your thanks for the good things in life can do wonders for your wellbeing and relationships and costs zero money (and only a tiny amount time!) Yet it’s so easy to push off or relegate to special occasions only.

Being thankful only on Thanksgiving is certainly not the worst thing, but it would be like greasing the chain of your bike only once per year; better than nothing, but still not great.  The more frequently you clean and grease your bike chain, the smoother your ride will be.  It’s the same with gratitude: the more you use it, the more it improves your outlook, which can then improve your job, relationships, and everything around you!

Even though it can seem like “one more thing to do”, there are absolutely ways to practice gratitude that don’t include writing thousands of thank-you notes or having hour-long conversations with your friends and loved ones.  In fact, the simpler the act of expressing gratitude, the more likely you are to include it in your daily routine.

So what are some quick everyday ways to inject some gratitude into your life?  Consider one of these suggestions:

1)Send a quick “thank you text” to a friend or loved one

No matter how small the gesture, you can probably thank someone for something.  It can even be as simple as “Thanks for grabbing coffee with me the other day, we should meet up again sometime!” or “Thanks for putting the dishes away last night <3”.  For super bonus feel-good points, text your mom!  I always have plenty to thank Mama Crusch for, and making her feel good always gives a boost to my day as well.

Afraid you’ll get stuck in a lengthy text convo?  Preface it with, “Headed into work(class/a meeting, etc.), but just wanted to say…” and you’ll be free to reply at your leisure.

2)Thank a coworker or classmate for their latest contribution

Group projects are usually the worst, as the high-pressure combo of hard deadlines and conflicting schedules can derail even the most talented of teams.  But you can improve your mood about a difficult multi-person project by catching one of your group members in the hall to tell them you appreciated their work.  No only will they be motivated to work harder, but you’ll feel more upbeat and more energized throughout the workday as well.

Don’t feel like their performance merits praise?  Avoid passive-aggressiveness by praising their effort rather than their results, or simply send out a “thank you” email to the group as a whole thanking everyone for their hard work (or their hard work so far if you’re mid-project, and feel free to include some words of motivation for the sprint to the finish!)

3)Write down a quick list of good things in life

Take a few minutes to write down a few things that you’re thankful for at the moment.  You can write them in a journal, type it in Evernote, or even shoot out a quick tweet or two with the mandatory #blessed included.  Taking time (even just a minute or two!) to appreciate the good things in your life can lift your spirits like nothing else.


So now that you have some suggestions for action, go out there and get grateful!  Once you start seeing the benefits it adds to your life and the lives of those around you, you won’t want to stop.




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