It's the time of year when we gather around our tables with our family and loved ones and express our feelings of gratitude.  Gratitude is what we express appreciation for.  What are you grateful for?  Is it your health, family, friends, shelter, food or a combination of these?

According to Psychology Today there are benefits of expressing gratitude.  

The Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants. Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy. 

There are many different ways to express gratitude and here's just a few of them.

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Start out with listing 5 things and then expand the list each week.
  2. Write a gratitude letter to someone you appreciate. Make a point once a week of composing a handwritten letter to express your appreciation for a friend or relative or even a colleague.  
  3. Make a date for gratitude.  Choose a specific time every day to think of who or what you are grateful for. Maybe upon awakening or just before you go to sleep.
  4. Connect on a personal level. Phone someone or meet with them to let them know you are grateful for them being a part of your life.
  5. Another way of connecting personally is by hand written cards.  Express your gratitude with a card.  
  6. Homemade is from the heart. Aren't the most memorable gifts homemade?  Give a gift that you've made or baked with your own two hands. 
  7. Volunteerism. Volunteer in your community.  You can find a church with an outreach program or simply search Google for "volunteering in _________________ (your location.)" 
  8. Complain free week. Try going a week without complaining.It's amazing how often we complain without even realizing it.
  9. Listen. Fully listen to whoever you are speaking or visiting with.  Put down the phone, turn off the tv and/or computer and give 100 percent of attention to the person you are with.
  10. Hugs.  Don't forget to give people a hug.  This simple gesture has had proven physiological benefits.

Tell us how you recognize gratitude in your life.