Who is the last person you thanked? Was it a reflexive "thanks" or was it a thoughtful and specific "thank you for _________"?
Much of the time we thank people out of habit, without really thinking about it. But there are so many people that do things that we take for granted and seldom thank. If we want to create a better world, we need to be aware of what we are thankful for and tell those folks that you appreciate what they do.
For instance, have you ever thanked a veteran or active duty military person "Thank you for your service"? Or have you ever told a fast food worker that they do a good job of keeping the dining area clean? How about a neighbor that does something for you without being asked. We have a neighbor who often takes our trash to the curb when he takes his out. And he brings the container back when it is empty! Another neighbor keeps an eye on our house when we are out of town.
Being aware of our gratitude is important for our own emotional/spiritual health. And keeping a gratitude journal can help you keep a more positive attitude. But I suggest we take it beyond ourselves and thank people directly for their actions. Why keep our positive attitude all to ourselves?
Tell someone "thank you" that you've not thanked before. It feels good to be appreciated. You might make someone's day. And outward gratitude enhances your well-being, too.
"Being instructed to express gratitude was particularly powerful for participants who came into the study with higher symptoms of depression. In their case, there was a direct link between how often they expressed gratitude in their relationships and how much more positive they felt one month after the experiment." (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_upgrade_your_gratitude_practice/success)
Give it a try. Face to face, by phone, or in a note, thank someone today.
Think about who you've not thanked for what they do or did: a neighbor; a teacher; a librarian; a police officer; a firefighter; a hospital employee; your mail carrier; the janitor at your job or church; a cashier where you shop regularly. Just be aware of who does something that benefits you and/or your community.
Can you think of others we might thank? Would you share your thoughts in the comments?