Taking Time to Appreciate Others

October 2, 2023
Daeun Grace Lee

Daeun Grace Lee

Practicing gratitude can have a positive impact on your well-being. Although you can practice gratitude on your own, expressing gratitude to others can benefit your health, as well as the strength and satisfaction of your relationships. Communicating gratitude to others not only lets the other person know that they made a difference in your life but also that you recognize and appreciate who they are and what they do for you. People express gratitude in many different ways. In our research, we’ve found that some ways are more effective than others. What might you say when you want to take the time to appreciate someone? Here are a few elements you might want to include when communicating your gratitude to others.

Emily Buehler

Emily Buehler

Make your intentions clear. One thing people really like when receiving gratitude is a message that clearly states its point. Our research has revealed that a simple “thank you” goes a long way. Just those two words can make it clear that you are grateful and make the other person feel recognized and acknowledged. Make sure that they know you appreciate them!

Affirm the other person. People like being validated. When expressing gratitude to someone, you can praise them for something they have done, compliment them for something you value about them or validate the important place they hold in your life. Affirming another person lets them know not only that their efforts were noticed but also that they add value to your life.

Tell them why you are grateful. People like to know what they did that sparked your gratitude. Whether it was an act of kindness or something they added to your life by simply being in it, people really appreciate knowing the meaningful impact they have had on others. It is through the communication of gratitude that people know they make a difference. 

As you’re practicing gratitude on your own, you might notice that the things you’re grateful for involve other people: What they have done for you or what their presence in your life means to you. Research shows that people often overestimate how awkward expressing gratitude will be while often underestimating the positive impact on the person receiving it. By communicating your gratitude to the people in your life, you make them feel seen and validated, and in turn, nurture the well-being of your relationship with them.

Daeun Grace Lee is a visiting professor of communication studies in the Department of Theatre Arts at Colorado Mesa University. She earned her Ph.D. from the Brian Lamb School of Communication in 2023. Her research and teaching focus on gratitude, relationships and health.

Emily Buehler is an assistant professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication. Her research and teaching focus on supportive communication, interpersonal relationships, and communication technologies.


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