I don’t like to be preachy, but I would like to have a more grateful attitude, and encourage it in others. Do you have any suggestions?

Gratitude is contagious, so encouraging others is often just a matter of being the example.  Here are a few suggestions for things you might do to brighten someone’s day as you share your thoughtfulness and gratitude:

  • Smile and say “hello” to a stranger.
  • Hold a door open for someone.
  • Pick up trash along a roadside to make the world more attractive for others who pass by the same route.  Sometimes you will notice signs along a road or highway noting an organization or family who has volunteered to keep that stretch of road litter free.  Give silent thanks for their efforts.
  • Don’t take work relationships for granted.  Thank a co-worker for his assistance on a project.  Not only will it brighten his day, it will make for a more productive and happy work environment.
  • Help an elderly person, or someone with kids, put his/her groceries in the car.
  • Take a few items from the pantry shelf and drop them off at a local food bank or collection site.  Many small contributions add up and make a big difference for families who are struggling.
  • Visit an elderly resident of a nursing home.  Sing songs, ask about his/her childhood, greatest adventure, schooling or work life.  It will give hours of happiness to someone who may be very lonely.
  • Spontaneously join a neighbor and help out as they weed a vegetable garden or flower bed.
  • Write a note to your pastor, bishop, or other religious leader and let him/her know how much you appreciated the message at this week’s worship service.

There is a Buddhist saying, “If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”  There are so many ways to express love and appreciation as we go about our daily routines, or take advantage of special opportunities.  Simple as they are, they make a difference to those who are touched by our thoughtfulness, and they brighten our day, as well!