Posted by M ws On Wednesday, May 8, 2013 0 comments

Gratitude is a greatly under-used emotion.

Sometime around mid-November, we take it out, dust it off, put it on display and admire it for a while. Then, come January, we promptly shove it back on the shelf for another ten months.

Outside of those precious few weeks at the end of the year, when the holiday season slows things down a bit, we often don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to doling out “thank yous,” and fostering feelings of gratitude.

But, there’s a host of research-backed benefits associated with taking the time to say thank you to the people that help make our day-to-day lives a bit easier.

Studies have shown that people who keep gratitude journals—regularly recording the things they are thankful for—are physically, psychologically and socially better off than those who don’t attend to feelings of appreciation.

They are more alert, get better sleep, have lower blood pressure (by as much as 10-15 percent), are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors (i.e. eating right, exercising regularly) and have stronger interpersonal relationships.

Here are 20 timeless ways to say thank you to the important people in your life:

With your love: Saying, “I love you,” is sometimes all the thanks a loved one needs.

With your ears: Listening is perhaps one of the most underappreciated gifts a person can give. Lend a listening ear to friends and family and they will know how much you appreciate their love and support.

With a donation: Does the recipient of your gratitude have a cause they hold close to their heart? Instead of getting them a gift card, consider making a donation in their name to their favorite charity.

With a picture: Don’t worry if your word-smithing abilities aren’t on par with Shakespeare, pictures can often convey what words cannot. Find a photo that expresses your feelings of gratitude and send it to the provider of the gift or service with a simple thank you note.

With a trophy: Who doesn’t love an award? To show your appreciation for a job well done, make a personalized plaque with a title, such as: “World’s Greatest CPA,” or “Number One Dentist.”

With a hug: Let’s face it, we could all use one.

With sincerity: A cardinal rule of thanking someone is to do so with genuine sincerity. It’s better to say nothing at all, than to provide a person with a luke-warm, “Thanks.”

With personality: When communicating your appreciation with a gift, make sure it’s tailored to the recipient’s individual preferences and interests. Want to express your gratitude to a music lover? Make them a mix CD or give them a subscription to an online music site, such as Pandora or Spotify.

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