In our exploration of Bold Gratitude, we’ve talked about the power and promise of gratitude journaling (Part 1). We’ve also delved into how consistency is key to intentionally transforming journaling into a ritual (Part 2). All of this to bring this timeless wisdom, backed by science into our daily lives. Now let’s take it a step further and get loud with our gratitude by looking at ways we can amplify our words in innovative ways.
Honestly, you could keep every single word in your journal private and you will experience benefits, but for me, the best way to nurture relationships and make the world a better place is to take the Bold Gratitude I’m feeling and expressing in my journal and sharing it with others.
Sometimes, this involves recognizing a kind gesture someone made for me, a moment I’ve noted in my journal, and transforming it into a sincere thank-you card. At other times, it’s about broadcasting my appreciation more publicly.
Let’s explore two effective strategies for extending the gratitude from our journals into impactful actions that touch others.
Bold Gratitude Nurtures Relationships
In the book The Gratitude Project, Jeremy Adam Smith reveals that “the richest thank-yous will acknowledge intentions (the pancakes you make when you see I’m hungry) and costs (you massage my feet after work, even when you’re really tired), and they’ll describe the value of the benefits received (you give me hugs when I’m sad so that I’ll feel better).”
Let’s give it a go.
Think of something nice someone did for you.
What do you think their intention was?
What do you think this cost them?
What value did this bring to your life?
Now consider taking these reflections and writing an epic gratitude letter that highlights the intention, cost, and value of a gift you have received. When you are finished with your masterpiece, you can:
- Hand deliver it
- Send it via the old-fashioned postal service
- Text or email it to them
If you think they would appreciate it, you could even call them up or visit them and read your letter aloud.
Bold Gratitude Is Prosocial
Prosocial behavior refers to intentional actions taken to benefit others. These interactions with society encompass kindness, generosity, compassion, and gratitude. And the connection between these prosocial qualities and virtues in our world is significant and undeniable, but we don’t always take the time to think about how they are connected. Prosocial behavior is contagious and benefits all involved. You can find it in places you don’t expect, and together, kindness, generosity, compassion, and gratitude can create a loop of positivity that makes us more resilient.
Moving beyond our immediate circles, let’s embrace prosocial behavior with Bold Gratitude. This means extending our thankfulness to the broader community.
Every act of love is a work of peace no matter how small.–Saint Mother Teresa
Positive Online Reviews:
The next time you go to the grocery store and see those stocked shelves, think of how many people it took to make that possible.
- Factory Workers
- Truck Drivers
- Grocery Store Workers (To Name A Few!)
Thanks to these hardworking people, we have access to healthy food. And even though we don’t always know everyone involved, there are some real MVPs we get to connect with. Let’s learn their names, show some gratitude, and give them some love by leaving a thoughtful review online. They deserve it!
Who’s “they”? Think about all the services that you use in your life and all the opportunities to publicly show gratitude for those people:
- Health-Care Workers
- Sales People
- Food Servers
- House Cleaners
- Food-Delivery Drivers
- And Many More!
Take a moment to leave a thoughtful review for a local business you appreciate. This small act not only boosts the morale of the business owners and employees but can also influence the choices of others in your community.
Volunteering and Charitable Acts:
Channel your gratitude into action by volunteering at a local charity or participating in community projects. These acts of kindness create waves of positivity and strengthen community bonds.
- Lace up those sneakers and join a charity run to feel good and do good.
- Roll up your sleeves and volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Send a care package or thank you letter to members of the military serving overseas.
- Declutter your bookshelf and donate some books to your local library to spread the joy of reading.
- Show some love to the unsung heroes in your community by writing a sweet thank-you note to your mail carrier, firefighters, librarians, and neighbors.
- Be a boss and help clean up your neighborhood by picking up litter and leaving it better than you found it.
Intentional Acts of Kindness to Strangers:
Sometimes, the most impactful expressions of gratitude are directed at those we don’t know personally. Paying it forward can brighten someone’s day and set off a chain reaction of goodwill.
- Hold the door open for someone like a champ.
- Tell a stranger that their hair is on point or their smile is makin’ your day.
- Surprise the person in line behind you by buying them a tasty treat or a hot brew.
- Flex your muscles and help carry someone’s heavy bags.
- Be a stellar listener, and lend an ear to someone who needs to chat or vent.
- Shower everyone you meet with genuine compliments all day long.
The Science and Philosophy Behind Gratitude’s Ripple Effect
Research shows that gratitude can create a positive feedback loop in our social networks. When we express gratitude, not only do we feel happier, but our actions can also inspire others to act in kind. This speaks to the interconnectedness of our actions and the power of positive reinforcement in society.
Call to Action
As we wrap up this series, let’s remember: Bold Gratitude isn’t just a practice for ourselves; it’s a gift we share with the world. By extending our gratitude outward, we contribute to a more compassionate and connected society. So, I encourage you to take your gratitude beyond your journal. Share it, live it, and watch the ripple effect of your kindness.
What are some ways you’ve shared your Bold Gratitude recently? I’d love to hear your stories and you can find ways to connect with me below.
Excerpts from Bold Gratitude: The Journal Designed For You & By You written by Lainie Rowell and designed by Allyson Liu, published by IMPress Books, June 2023
Also in this series:
- Part 1: Unraveling the Science and Significance of Journaling
- Part 2: Building a Bold Gratitude Journaling Ritual
- Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1687
- Fowler, J. H., & Christakis, N. A. (2008). Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ, 337, a2338. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2338