How to Show Gratitude

How to show gratitude

Do you take for granted that your loved ones will always be there tomorrow, the next day, and so on? Even after a few life changing events in life, I still find myself falling back into this trap. Tomorrow is not promised for anyone. Life changes too quickly, so take advantage of every opportunity to let others know how thankful you are for them.

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Life is difficult, but even during these times, we can be thankful for something or someone. Sometimes we must dig deep to find it, but it is generally there.

In 2014, I was diagnosed with that horrible “C” word – Cancer. It turned my life upside down as I thought that would never happen to me. I thought having cancer was difficult, but I was very surprised how hard it was to accept that I would lose all my hair. I’m embarrassed for even thinking it, much less sharing it with you.

Even though losing all my hair was difficult for me, I was still able to find the good in it (after digging deep!).

Losing all my hair – thankful for these things:

I was alive – I had a great healthcare team and support system.
It takes less time to get ready in the morning – in the past, making sure my  hair looked good could take some time.
I was saving money – did not have to pay to cut and color my hair.

Any day is a good time to start letting others know how important they are, but sometimes this can be hard to bring up. It does not have to be a “serious conversation”. We can let others know how important they are by simply getting to know them better to share more things, make memories, and laughing together.

Here’s a few things to make it easier.

Thanksgiving – this is a day made just for recognizing how much we have to be grateful for.

  • This may be one of the few days a year we’re able to get everyone together.
  • If someone can’t attend, send them a Thanksgiving card or try to face time, skype, or text them.
  • There are some that may not have a place to go for the holidays due to schedules, family out of town, or loved ones not on this earth anymore. Invite them to join you.
  • Thanksgiving does not have to be on “Thanksgiving” – pick a day that works the best for everyone.

Games and Activities

There are so many great ones, it is not possible to list them all.

  • Gratitude Conversation Starter
    • Write these questions on paper and cut them into strips
    • Fold them and put them in a cup
    • Pass the cup around and everyone draws a question
    • If there are more people, make multiple copies of the same questions or throw in some of your own.
      • What are you most thankful for and why?
      • What is one of your favorite memories?
      • What is something that meant a great deal to you that  someone did?
      • What is your favorite tradition for any holiday?
      • What did someone do to make you say thank you recently?
    • Go in a circle and have everyone answer their question.
  • M&M Game
    • Buy M&Ms candy-technically you just need one per person to play, but I’d buy more as these are difficult not to eat if they are in front of you! Get the regular colors and not a holiday mix that only comes with a limited number of colors.
    • Put them in a bowl and have everyone pick one.
    • Each color will represent something they have to share with the group
      • Blue – Favorite food
      • Red – Favorite memory
      • Yellow – Favorite hobby
      • Green – Favorite game
      • Brown – What does your ideal day look like?
    • Pick a color and have everyone that has it, answer the question. Then pick the next color and so on.
    • Of course, you can tailor these questions to be what works for you. Be creative and have fun!
  • Football game – there is generally plenty on TV to watch if it is in the fall. Any sport game will do. It is something that you can talk (but don’t get in front of the TV – I know from experience) during the game and cheer your team on.
  • Card games – there is nothing like the old fashion game of cards –
    • Speed
    • Blackjack
    • Old Maid
    • Go Fish
    • Uno
    • etc.
  • Board games
    • Monopoly
    • Clue
    • Trouble
    • Sorry
    • Scrabble
    • Candy Land
    • Connect 4
    • Trivial Pursuit
    • Scattergories my family likes this one. It does not require all sitting around the table to play – someone can be on the couch and another in the recliner, etc.

The main thing is to interact and make memories together.

Take time each day to reflect on what you are thankful for. By focusing on the good, we’ll feel happier and not be as tempted to take things for granted.

Look for opportunities to let others know how much they mean to you. For some it may be difficult to let others know how important they are. It can be simply by getting together to catch up and make memories. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity just for this, but it does not have to be all serious. If there are friends and family with no place to go for the holidays, invite them to spend it with you. Playing games is often a great way to get everyone engaged and laughing, so they know you enjoy their company. Various activities and games can be done such as board games, card games, gratitude conversation starter, football games, and the M&M game.

Enjoy being with those that are important to you!


Showing gratitude






Life can be difficult, but even during these times, we can be thankful for something or someone. Learn how to reflect and find gratitude with these suggestions.