With her simple four-step guide, Dani DiPirro shows how easy it can be to show more gratitude and appreciation in your life.
Consider the last time you felt truly thankful for someone or something in your life. What did you do to take that internal emotional and showcase it in an external way? Most of us are well aware that gratitude is a good thing, but gratitude is about more than just feeling the comforting warmth of appreciation. True gratitude is also about taking these thankful thoughts and turning them into inspired action.
One way to do this is through the use of the G.A.L.E. approach to gratitude, a set of four actions that turn internal thoughts of gratitude outward – Giving, Accepting, Listening, and Expressing. Each of these actions, however trivial they might seem, can have a profound impact not only on your own emotional state, but on the lives of others as well. Here are some insights on the power of G.A.L.E., including suggestions on how to carry out these concepts.
Giving – both to yourself and to others – is one of the most impactful ways to show gratitude, and it need not be limited to tangible gifts. In addition to physical acts of giving, such as donating items you no longer need or giving money to those in need, you can also show appreciation through a number of intangible gifts like time, patience, understanding, love, freedom, or kindness, to name a few. Offering a gift is a simple, yet profound experience, and one we all have the ability to take part in. Likewise, simply giving the world the gift of you – sharing your talents, knowledge, or experiences – is an expression of gratitude for the gifts you’ve been given.
Accepting the light and dark of life is a remarkable way to embrace appreciation for yourself, others, and the world around you. As we all well know, life is a rollercoaster of highs and lows, and the ride can sometimes feel overwhelming (both in positive and negative ways). Embracing the moments (and the people) in your life – even if they are flawed – is a way of showcasing your gratitude for being given the opportunity to be here, in this moment. Everyone faces aspects of life they cannot change, and choosing to accept, rather than resist, these experiences is a way to express thankfulness in a deep, universal way.
Bombarded with constant noise and information, many of us struggle to give our undivided attention to the world surrounding us, but making the effort to do so can be a considerable sign of appreciation. When you want to express how thankful you are for someone or something, put away your distractions and offer your full, uninterrupted concentration. This is applicable not only in one-on-one conversations, but also when listening to music, films, or television shows. If you are appreciative of a person or an art form, show it by being in the moment as much as possible, focusing on what’s being said instead of what you might want to say. Take note of how it feels when someone is attentively listening to you, and you’ll be reminded of how meaningful this simple act can be.
Expressions of gratitude come in many forms – from a simple utterance of “thank you” or warm hug to a handwritten note or a lavish gift – and, big or small, these expressions matter. If saying, “thank you” isn’t currently something you find yourself doing frequently, try to incorporate it into your life on a regular basis and notice how it feels. Not only does this alert others of your appreciation, but you’ll find that it also feels really good to put kind words out into the world. There are countless ways to physically express gratitude, and many of them take little time or effort, leaving you with no good excuse not to reap the rewards of gratefulness on a regular basis.
Studies have proven the many, many benefits of gratitude, but this vital concept can seem vague at times. The next time you’re feeling thankful but don’t know exactly how to show it, return to the G.A.L.E. method of gratitude and ask yourself what you might be able to give, accept, listen to, or express.
About the author: Dani DiPirro is an author, blogger, and designer living in a suburb of Washington, DC. In 2009, she launched PositivelyPresent.com as a way to share her personal experiences and insights on positivity, awareness, and self-love — things that didn’t always come easy to her!
Dani is the author of The Every Day Matters 2018 Desk and Pocket Diaries: A Year of Inspiration for the Mind, Body and Spirit ( £12.99/£6.99, available from Watkins Books).