6 Meaningful Ways to Express Your Gratitude

A gift that is freely given, gratitude is a selfless act. It’s an emotion that can connect us with others or to a specific purpose, and can motivate us in our everyday lives.

Gratitude by itself is defined as the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and show kindness. Sometimes we can be at a loss when we want to express gratitude to someone – whether they’ve sent a kind gift, helped you when you most needed it or provided comfort during a difficult time.

So, how can you express gratitude to those you’d like to? Here are 6 simple yet meaningful ways to express your gratitude to others:

1. Write a Thank You Note

Snail mail is certainly not out-of-date, and many people still love to get cards in the mail. A thank you note can hold every ounce of gratitude that you wish to express, and often it means more because the recipient knows that you’ve taken the time to sit down and write to them. Plus, it’s also a nice little memento to keep should they choose to.

2. Tell Someone How Much They Mean to You

Sometimes the easiest way to express your gratitude for someone is simply to tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them why they are such a special person, and how their qualities enhance your life. Sometimes a kind word really is enough to turn someone’s day around.

You could give them a sweet list of what you are thankful for, or you could share your thoughts with them over a phone call or video chat. 

3. Spend Time Together

Time spent together is never wasted – especially if it’s to show appreciation for a kind word or action. 

If you’re unable to meet in person, one way to get around a distance barrier is with a phone call or video chat. Try scheduling a time to virtually enjoy a meal together or have a coffee – it may not be the same as seeing each other in person, but it’s still meaningful!

4. Smile – It Does More Than You Realize!

A smile carries more weight than you might think. For some, a smile says more than words ever can – and therefore, can mean the world to someone. If you’re at a loss for words the next time you’d like to express your gratitude, try a smile – not only will it make you feel good, but it will make the other person feel good, too.

Say thank you with a beautiful smile, kindness costs us nothing.”

Myra S.H.

5. Pay It Back or Pay It Forward

If you are wanting to show appreciation for someone, returning the favor can be a great way to do it. Help them in their garden, deliver a favorite dessert, or send them a few dollars for a coffee on you. Gestures like these can make their whole day brighter.

If the person you’d like to show appreciation to is a total stranger, pay it forward by doing the same for the person behind you. Kindness can set off a chain reaction, and you could be a part of it. 

“Any time you can see someone’s reaction when you do something they’re not expecting, it’s a whole different type of happiness.”

Kat S.

6. A Simple “Thank You” Says It All

Sometimes the most powerful way to express gratitude is to simply say ‘thank you.’ These two words are so significant, and can make a huge impact when said to someone that you are truly grateful for.

Words are powerful, and when you can see the meaning in someone’s eyes as they say them, it makes them even more so. However, if you can’t say thank you in person, you can always do so over the phone.

Nothing tops a sincere “thank you!”

Natalie M.P.

Accepting Gratitude

It’s an interesting conundrum – oftentimes, we find it easier to share appreciation than to receive it. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable to receive compliments or someone else’s gratitude for something that may not have seemed like a big deal to you. Here are a few tips to help you accept gratitude the next time it comes your way:

  • Allow yourself to experience happiness. You are allowed to feel happy that an action you took made someone else grateful. Smile, and say ‘you’re welcome.’ They will see that you mean it.
  • Say “thank you” in return. If someone has given you a gift or a compliment in order to show their gratitude, savor the moment and say ‘thank you,’ they will appreciate the moment that you’ve shared together.
  • Take a breath before responding. When being shown gratitude, often it can be best to pause before we say anything. This will give us the time to say what we would truly like to say, rather than the first thing that comes to mind.
  • Share how their gratitude makes you feel. Sometimes sharing our joy in one’s gratitude can make us feel vulnerable – however, as long as you are sincere with what you say, there is no wrong way to respond.

How Else Do You Show Gratitude?

Life offers so many moments to give and receive gratitude. We sincerely hope these tips have offered you some helpful guidance on how to openly express and receive this kindness. 

What are some of your favorite ways to show your appreciation? What have been some of your favorite ways you’ve been thanked? Please share with us and the rest of the CaringBridge community in the comments below!

  • Stephen Arabadjis

    To whom it may concern,
    My name is Fr. Stephen Arabadjis.  I am a member of the Society of St. Pius X.  But I am in my 7th year of Sabbatical.Therefore I was hoping your group could do a 54 day rosary novena for my intentions.  But any prayers and sacrifices would be greatly appreciated.  I know Our Lady will reward you generously for this.
    In Our Lady,
    Fr. Arabadjis
    P.S. Thanking you in advance, since I don’t always get all my communications.

  • Marion Woods McKnight

    Sending encouraging and hopeful Bible verses to friends with serious illness, or depressed, or in pain can be a meaningful way to show kindness and caring.

  • Marsha Montgomery Taylor

    I read this statement some time ago, and it still rings truth…” You die the life you live”. How are you living? This statement says to me…are you living a grateful life? I want to think that I am. I want my life that I live to.shine before my children and my Children’s children. So that I leave a blessed legacy. Just like my mother and father did. Amen!

  • Maranee Sanders

    Delivered 2 thanksgiving meals to neighbors. Writing cards to seniors in retirement center who are quarantined . Checking in with friends near and far especially if they live alone. Thanking members of my family for small favors, saying yes to helping especially when I don’t want to leave what I am doing.

  • William Gray McKee II

    Accept the gift/not Except the gift….it’s late 🙂 In my post you will see this glaring grammatical error.

  • William Gray McKee II

    Gratitude is one of the most perplexing emotions to fully comprehend. A close friend and someone I admire gave me this advice on Gratitude. Never be the one to tell those around you not to give you a gift or if they do be annoyed. When people give gifts they often are doing this for themselves. When you shun them you hurt their feelings. Except the gift with a smile and a “Thank You”. This was a habit of mine, to tell family, friends at times not to buy me a gift for certain occasions. I now realize, let them give to me what they will and appreciate and show gratitude. A true win-win…..

  • Lilllian Toll

    Sending a small donation to the favorite charity of your donor or your donor’s loved one.

  • Barbara curry Pfister

    These are wonderful ways to.show and receive gratitude!I feel like another gift you can give a person is to “listen” to them and tell them “ I hear you” and another gift is to tell a person that you see them by saying “ I see you “You will be living omg the moment validating someone by truly being present for them and telling them that by saying I hear you” and “ I see you”. The best gift to give another!!!!Keep up the good work!!!

  • Donna Jean C Palmberg

    I’ve found that Dayspring.com E-cards are a wonderful way to express gratitude. There are great varieties of cards and are always appreciated… plus being FREE to send.

  • Richard Anderson

    Nice !

  • Becky

    All very good and helpful ways to show gratitude! But, how about remembering the one who made all of life possible for every man, woman and child on earth – almighty God, creator and sustainer of life, and giver of His abundant loving kindness to all who believe in Him. True thanksgiving must start with thanks to Him.


    I like to send flowers using a Christian flower company. It is a joy to realise how much the surprise blesses the recipient.

  • Linda Bolonda

    Bob and Diane Sayre,Often thinking of you two and praying that all continues to go well.Happy Thanksgiving from the Bolondas here in H’Ville!!

  • Diane

    My friend, Liz, who is battling cancer right now has written me, through the years, several beautiful, heartfelt thank you notes. I’ve saved them and they mean so much to me. She didn’t write just a line or two, as I tend to do, but expounded on several things she loves about me. These kinds of communication are, to me, way more meaningful and appreciated than an expensive gift (or gift card!). I love her so much. She has also shown me appreciation by serving me. Would you believe she pressure washed my house once just because she knew it would make me SO happy. Wow. What a friend.

  • Ken

    Thanks for this uplifting article. What a wonderful work Caring bridge continues to do! There is so much we each can do in so many simple ways to help create a better world!Keep up the great work!

  • Evelyn Coker-Mcgee

    I became a member for Andrea Finley Young, a wonderful, beautiful friend who has myeloid leukemia. She is constantly in my prayers and in my heart.