“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Being that it is the week of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be interesting, and fun, to focus this week’s blog on something a little different. Now, we all know about gratitude and giving thanks (I would hope since that is the whole premise of Thanksgiving today), but this week I decided to write about the different ways countries express gratitude and thanks and ways to bring more gratitude into your life. I thought that this would be a fun and interesting way for us to become more aware of how the act of gratitude affects us all. My hope for each of you reading this article is that you gain more awareness of other cultures’ views on gratitude, more insight into how you express your gratitude, and ways to bring even more gratitude into your life when you may need it most!
Have you ever wondered how other countries viewed gratitude? Many of them view and express it differently than how we do here in the United States- we typically show it by saying “Thank You.” Now is your chance to learn “7 Ways To Express Gratitude Around The World” – you never know where life will take you & where you might end up!
- India: Saying “Thank-you” to a friend or relative likens them to the role of stranger. Thank you is best expressed with your heart and a smile.
- China: Expressing gratitude is done through gestures rather than words. You can do this according to the Confucian principle of “Bao” or reciprocity, by giving an appropriate gift instead.
- Japan: Gratitude is typically shown through bowing or gift giving on Holidays (which is more concerned with the ritual of gift giving over the actual gift itself). How one shows gratitude is dependent upon:
- how intimate you are with the person you are thanking
- how their social status is relative to yours
- Russia & Hungary: Showing gratitude in these countries is a little different and more based around old traditions, including odds & evens. To thank someone for their hospitality: box of chocolate or flowers. However, never give yellow flowers – they are considered bad luck – and only an odd number of flowers as even numbers are given at funerals!
- Germany: Want to say thank you by giving flowers? Unwrap the bundle to be seen as more sincere. Want to thank a professor? Instead of clapping, knock on your desk.
- Nepal: Give/receive gifts and money with both hands
- Philippines: “it’s the thought that counts.” Remembering to give someone something is far more important than the gift itself!
Despite how much the meaning and expression of gratitude may vary, “the most universal expression of thanks has always been a nod of the head with a friendly smile” according to the author Kim Weiss.
Silvia Mordini described saying thank you as “the simplest, most common expression of gratitude. Our parents teach us this before we understand how universal it is” in her article “How to Say Thank You.“ It is also in this article that she gives us 40 ways to say Thank You along with a list of the 10 most common languages and how to say thank you. The list of both is below.
You may be thinking, “When will I ever need to say thank you in Icelandic (or another language)?” But think about this… Have you ever said “Gracias” to someone you knew spoke predominantly Spanish, or no English, and see the smile come across their face? (Most likely because they never thought you would thank them in their native language, only in English.) Now, you may not know when an individual speaks a language like Icelandic, but imagine if you remember this one phrase in the future and are able to use it. How happy do you think that individual would feel knowing you went out of your way to express your thanks and they were actually able to understand! Even if this was to only happen once in your life, that one time seems like it would all be worth it don’t you think?!
Lastly, I want to leave you with ways to increase your gratitude. I found an article, “12 Questions To Bring More Gratitude Into Your Life” by Dr. Danielle Dowling. Some of you may recognize this article as I posted it on our social media about a month ago! This article touches on what I spoke about last week in my blog: feeling overwhelmed with life and upset over what we haven’t achieved. Dr. Dowling explains that simply celebrating and acknowledging what you have done is the way help clear your mind and overcome this feeling of being overwhelmed. She gave us 12 questions to ask ourselves. First you need to take a moment to think about and ask yourself this question & fill in the blank below:
What goodness have you created in the last day, week, months or year? I AM GRATEFUL FOR: ______________________; then you can move onto the 12 questions:
- What have others done that has benefited by life—even if I don’t know who those people are?
- What relationships am I thankful for?
- What am I taking for granted that, if I stop to think about it, I am grateful for?
- How can I be thankful for the challenges that I’ve experienced? What did I learn from them?
- How is my life different today than it was a year ago? How can I be thankful for those changes?
- What insights have I gained that I am grateful for?
- Who do I appreciate? Why?
- What material possessions am I thankful for?
- What about my surroundings (home/neighborhood/city/etc.) am I thankful for?
- What opportunities do I have that I am thankful for?
- Where can I help people more?
- How can I say thank you more?
Dr. Dowling also explains the benefits of gratitude:
- For yourself, it can be a symbolic way of giving back.
- For others, your gratitude is a mirror: a recognition, appreciation, encouragement and inspiration.
- Gratitude gives you true clarity and focus on how your successes came to be.
- Practicing this gives you the confidence to do the other scary tasks at hand and continuously catapult your life forward.
To learn more about the benefits of gratitude and ways you can bring more into your life, click on the title of the articles to send you to each one; each author gives their own spin on why they feel gratitude is essential. Want to learn the best quotes about gratitude or other ways to express it? Check out “The Seven Best Gratitude Quotes,” you may recognize some that I used in this blog or that you’ve seen before. I know they helped inspire me to be a little more thankful and grateful this Thanksgiving, and hopefully will do the same for you!
Are you finding yourself having a hard time showing or expressing your gratitude or feel that you may not have much to be grateful for? If you would like some help getting started please visit us at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando or call us at 407.355.7378 to schedule a free phone consultation. Our Orlando Orlando Licensed Mental Health Counselors for Individual Counseling in Orlando, our Orlando Life Coach or our Orlando Child Counselors,Orlando Adolescent Therapists, and Orlando Teen Counselors would be more than happy to help you figure out where you are in your life and ways to make it the life you want!