Give thanks out loud.With Thanksgiving upon us, it's a great time to think about how grateful we are for the good things in our lives, and how we can better express that gratitude to those around us.

Tell People THAT You Appreciate Them

It seems simple, yet it's so often overlooked. Our spouses, friends, family members, and coworkers do good things for us all the time, but if we're not careful, we'll take those actions for granted. 

Do you celebrate -- or even notice -- the 500th time your significant other fixes dinner, does the laundry, cuts the grass, or shovels snow? Do you explicitly thank your employees for going the extra mile, or your boss for shielding the team when the going gets tough? A grateful word or two from you could make a lot of difference to them.

Action item: Make a list of 10 people in your life who regularly do good things for you. On the list could be your mom, your neighbor, your workout buddy -- anybody who has a positive effect on you. Make a commitment that you'll express your thanks to each of these people in the coming week.

Tell Them WHY You Appreciate Them

Saying "Thank you" or "I appreciate it" is great, but it's even better when you can give a person positive feedback for something in particular that they do. Being specific in your praise reinforces the best things that bring you together with the other person. It also counterbalances the specific criticisms that many of us make on a regular (too regular?) basis.

Action item: For each of the 10 people you listed above, come up with something specific that you'll mention to them. For example, I wouldn't just tell my wife, "Honey, I appreciate how you take care of the kids," but "Honey, I know you spend a lot of time in the car driving the kids back and forth to their activities. I know that can be tedious, and I really appreciate that you take that on."

Consider HOW You Can Appreciate Them

Some people like public kudos; others are embarrassed by them. Some people prefer little gifts as tokens of appreciation. Some put a high emphasis on small acts of kindness done for them. When you want to elevate your appreciation for another person to a higher level, it pays to think about how they would most like to receive that appreciation. 

This isn't my original idea, by the way. The relationship therapist Gary Chapman has helped many couple with counseling and through his bestselling books on the "5 Love Languages." If you want to know more about expressing your gratitude in ways that those close to you will most enjoy, I encourage you to take a look at his work.

Action item: For each of the 10 people on your list, think about how they like to be rewarded or thanked, and then deliver your appreciation for them in that manner. 

Maybe if we start the practice of giving thanks out loud here in November, we can carry it on well past the holiday season. It's certainly worth a try!

What will YOU do to express your gratitude this holiday season?

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Tim Walker CareOne Life Balance Blogger Tim Walker

Tim is a writer, marketer, and social media pro living in Austin. He joined CareOne's blogging team as a contributing writer for the Life Balance blog in 2009. As a blogger who has personally overcome debt challenges, he draws from his own experience to provide tips on living a balanced life and keeping fit. You can read more of his thoughts (on fitness and everything else) at his personal blog, What I've Learned So Far. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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