34 Ways to Show Gratitude & Have an Instantly Better Life

34 Ways To Have An Instantly Better Life
Gratitude is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘the state of being grateful, thankfulness. Many people fail to understand how gratitude can change a life and alter one’s perception of the good. A life without gratitude is often an unhappy, unfilled life. Putting gratitude in your daily life is the first step to achieving many of your hopes, dreams, and goals.

The thing with gratitude is that it actually helps you way more than the person you’re showing gratitude towards. When you feel thankful, grateful, and content in your own life and experiences, you will find that you want less. You’ll find that you’re more satisfied with where you are and what you already have.

Before you know it, how you express gratitude will become a habit. Your mental health will improve, your self-esteem and positive emotions will increase, your depression and anxiety may lift, and negative emotions will decrease. While your life satisfaction, social relationships, mood, and compassion for yourself and others will soar.

Without further thought, showing gratitude is much more than a simple ‘thanks’. To improve the quality of your life and the life of others, it is important to show true gratitude for the things you are grateful for, so here are 34 ways you can up the ante and let people in your life know just how much you appreciate them and how to grateful in your daily life. 

34 Ways to Show Gratitude and Instantly Have a Better Life…

1. Be an active listener

Show your gratitude to others by listening to what they say.

2. Give out compliments

Make someone’s day by complimenting little things like a great shirt, a nice smile, or a job well done.

3. Make eye contact

When interacting with people, make eye contact and show you are really present in the conversation.

4. Give a detailed example of appreciation

Let someone know exactly why you are grateful to have them in your life by citing an example of things they have done or said on your behalf. This is prosocial behavior that will help your relationship quality. It is one of the biggest benefits of gratitude.

5. Be thoughtful of others

While you must take care of yourself, it is important to also think of others first. Consider someone else’s feelings with every action and word.

6. Volunteer for unpleasant tasks

Offer to do a chore or errand. By doing these tasks for someone, you make their day easier.

7. Give a hug

Make a true connection with those you love and are grateful to have in your life by giving hugs when greeting, saying goodbye, or saying thanks.

8. Just be there

Spend time with others, especially during difficult times, and just be there without your phone and other distractions.

9. Be gracious when challenged

When someone challenges your actions or words, still show grace by listening to what they say and being polite. You never really know what someone else might be going through, so don’t take their actions personally and show them kindness (even if it’s really hard to do). This is a hard lesson and depends on the specific situation, but it really does more for you and YOUR own well-being to give the other person the benefit of the doubt than to get involved in the chaos. 

10. Offer congratulations

When someone you know is celebrating an achievement, offer your sincere congratulations even if you are not the winner.

11. Show off their gifts

When someone is gracious enough to give you a gift, make sure you wear the clothes in their presence, display their craft on your desk, or make it known you appreciate the gift by using it.

12. Share their joys

Celebrate others’ joys as if they were your own. You’ll be given clarity about what truly matters in life, and any confusion about that will slowly slip away. 

13. Be patient

Patience is not everyone’s virtue but gives it your best effort to remain patient with those you love, and remember that everyone has their own struggles.

14. Share their praise

When you receive great service or fine hospitality, let others know about the job well done, such as telling supervisors about the excellent service your wait staff provided. When kind words are spoken as an expression of gratitude, the fractals of that kindness will spread out farther than you will ever know. 

15. Select small, thoughtful gifts

When you are out and about, select a few small but thoughtful gifts for those you love to show you are thinking about them.

16. Write handwritten notes of thanks

When you receive a gift, handwrite a thank you note mentioning your gift and your appreciation.

17. Handwrite ‘thinking of you letters’

Forget emails when sending personal sentiments that let loved ones know you are thinking of them.

18. Handwrite letters of encouragement

Skip the texts. When family and friends are having a rough time, handwrite letters of encouragement and inspiration or give them a call and let them get it all out.

19. Write a love letter

Address a love letter to those you love – from your spouse to your parents to your children you will provide them with proof positive they are loved and appreciated. It also helps remind you what you must be grateful for daily.

20. Journal your blessings

Take a few moments each night before bed to write down the things you appreciated throughout the day. It can be a wonderful way to reflect on how far you’ve come over the years.

21. Be a support system

When people are in need, step up to be the go-to person they can rely on for support, regardless of their differences.

22. Share your talents

If you are a whiz at scrapbooking, money management, or resume writing, share your talents with those in need.

23. Perform a random act of kindness

Kindness is still very much appreciated today, so perform a random kindness for those you love or a total stranger without looking for praise, such as buying a homeless person lunch.

24. Pay it forward

When you order a coffee, pay for the person behind you. When you are at the drive-through, pay an extra $5 for the next person in line. Drop a few extra coins in the toll booth on your travels.

25. Tip well for good service

When you receive good service, be sure to offer a good tip that shows those in the service industry how much they are appreciated. It is often a low-paying, unappreciated job others continue to do.

26. Donate to charity

Skip a pedicure and allocate that money to a charity in your local community.

27. Volunteer your time

Spend a few hours at a food bank, an animal shelter, or your church helping others. Sharing your time with those in need can help put your own life into perspective.

28. Host a gathering for your dearest friends

For no reason, host a gathering of your nearest and dearest to say thank you for all they’ve done.

29. Help a stranger in need

While riskier now than in decades past, helping a stranger can certainly make you feel great. If you can’t change a flat tire, at least hang out nearby until the tow truck arrives. If you pick a “weird vibe” or anything else that makes you funny, trust your gut and get outta there. You can always show gratitude later that day.

30. Share your material possessions

Don’t be stingy with the things you do have. Be willing to share your possessions with those you love and those that are not as fortunate.

31. Say you’re sorry

No matter how mad you get or how right you are, be willing to say you are sorry to those you truly love and appreciate. Be willing to compromise in life. There’s a saying that goes, “You can either be right, or you can be happy.” Plus, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. 

32. Visit the sick and/or elderly

Spend time with those who may not have anyone else. A Saturday morning visit to the nursing home or the sick ward at the local hospital can brighten everyone’s day. Think about how you might appreciate that when you’re elderly, your physical health may deteriorate. 

33. Always say Thank You

Always say thank you no matter how small or big the favor was. Say it to family, friends, co-workers, and kids. A heartfelt thank you can go a long way. I always try to say it to the bus driver as I get off the bus because their job seems so thankless.


All the time! Share a smile with loved ones and strangers on the bus. While not everyone will smile back, it is certainly worth the effort to keep doing it. Smiles are contagious, so do your part to make happiness and gratitude go viral.

The bottom line is that having a culture of gratitude in life gives us humans more resilience and acceptance by helping our denial lessen. Through meditation, gratitude journals, and the daily practice of gratitude (maybe in a gratitude group with friends?), life can become better in an instant with some mindset shifts.

I’m curious, how do you show and practice gratitude in your life, and do you find that when you’re in a state of contentment and thankfulness, you “want” less? What are your favorite ways to show gratitude? How did you show gratitude today?

Also, you might like this post: 134 Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness

P.S. Want to change your mindset? Here’s a game-changer alert! CLICK HERE for the Money Magnet + Abundance Affirmations Super List ​


51 thoughts on “34 Ways to Show Gratitude & Have an Instantly Better Life

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    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Yeah, sometimes it’s like “do I want to be ‘right’ or do I want to have peace?”. Sometimes it’s not an easy decision… especially when the ol’ ego gets invited to the party.

  1. diana

    this is a great list!
    i am 3 months into a year-long project about kindness. each day, i am completing one random act of kindness.
    awesome ideas!!

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  3. Suzanne Holt

    Thank you for sharing these suggestions. While many of them are just basic ideas, having them all compiled in a list like this is helpful. Pinned to my “Gratitude” board.

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  8. Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for going over some ways to show gratitude. It’s good to know that you should try to perform random acts of kindness without looking for praise. It could be fun to think of different ways you can do this for each person.

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  10. Eva

    Hello.. I’m in a relationship where my partner everytime we argue. He says I’m not grateful. That I do not appreciate how hard he works n about us. I had to look up ways to be grateful and honestly I do half or more of the things on this list to show how grateful and how much i care. I dont know what more to do..

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  12. Frances

    I love this list. The world would be a better place, a happy place. I’m thinking of copying the list, putting it in a frame & put it up on my wall where it can be seen.

  13. Frances

    I love this list. The world would be a better place, a happy place. I’m thinking of copying the list, putting it in a frame & put it up on my wall where it can be seen and as a constant reminder of how people should be with each other.

  14. Ann

    I shared with my parish community, co-workers, friends, and family. Well thought out list, most of which I already do. Seeing it in black and white and so eloquently written made it easier to share with others. Thank you! Again, thank you for your act of kindness in packaging these ideals!

  15. Denise Patrick

    These are wonderful ideas! I want to live a more thankful life. I am so glad to have found your article and see that gratitude is something we can choose to practice everyday in our lives.

  16. Thompson Olopele

    Thank you for this. More options to my desire to show kindness to others.
    Thank you again.

  17. Darius

    Thank you so much for this post! Def sharpened me up! Thankfulness never expires! Wish I would of read this back in 2013 when you first made it lol

  18. Gregory Nate

    Thank you for this article and list, Anna. It’s a much needed simplicity for an overly complex mind, such as my own.

    I am a 54 year old male, just now coming into my own spirituality, self acceptance, and indescribable gratitude for what I already have.

    These days, I usually lean heavily toward the want for nothing feeling inside. <—– This…is the greatest gift, and since finding it, I have at times struggled with how to best express gratitude. The word itself, feels insufficient.

    This list allows me to put it into action. Gratitude isn't a feeling word, it's an action word. These things I can do, even when I am not feeling grateful.


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