5 Simple Ways to Express Gratitude and Other Lessons I Learned From My Mom

03/31/2015 11:51 am ET | Updated Aug 07, 2015

Throughout our lives, we all need something and someone to believe in. We also need someone who believes in us. That was the role my mother played in my life.

I was once told that when you lose your parents you lose your fan club, and this is exactly the way I felt when my mom passed away six years ago. I can no longer pick up the phone and hear Mom's enthusiastic, "Good morning, Sunshine!" Nor can I call her for advice or tell her about my latest speaking engagement or TV appearance.

No one will ever care about my success quite the way my mother did. And with each passing day I see myself becoming more like her as I try to keep her legacy alive through my words and actions.

Whenever I do something nice for someone else, I think of all the kind deeds my mother did for others -- making soup for a sick neighbor, cutting and styling a friend's hair and making tray favors for hospital patients.

She loved practicing random acts of kindness long before that phrase was coined, and every day she looked for and welcomed opportunities to pass her generous gestures to others. My mother was grace in action.

In light of what my mother taught me, here are five simple ways to show gratitude every day.

Write in an abundance journal. Purchase a small notebook and keep it in your briefcase, purse or bedside table. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to jot down one or two positive experiences, or, alternatively, write down what you're grateful for at the end of each week.

Include small acts of kindness: a stranger who paid for your coffee, someone who held the door for you, a phone call or note of appreciation from a friend, client or colleague.

If you don't write down these small moments of happiness, they will be easily forgotten. When you keep a journal, you can look back and remember how much you have to be thankful for during the times when life doesn't seem to be going your way.

Express your gratitude in person. When a friend, colleague or client goes above and beyond, be sure to verbalize your appreciation. Go to their office or treat them to lunch or a quick cup of coffee.

When you make time for those who are important to your business, the lasting impression can be endlessly rewarding.

Show respect for those around you. Treat others with the same level of courtesy you expect to receive: smile, show kindness, exhibit patience and listen. For instance, the next time you make a coffee run in the morning, offer to bring back coffee for someone else in the office, too. Wash your coffee mug in the office kitchen rather than letting your dirty dish sit in the sink. If you see someone running toward the elevator, hold the door.

You know how nice it feels when someone takes a few moments to show kindness. Be that person to someone else.

Don't complain. When something terrible happens, it's natural to want to complain about it. You may become impatient with someone in line who takes too long to pay or moan to an employee about a difficult client. You may even complain to yourself when a driver cuts you off in traffic.

Every time you complain, you reinforce a negative state of mind without offering a solution to the problem at hand. Instead, next time you feel frustrated, take a few breaths and try focusing on something positive.

Volunteer in your community. There's a well-known secret among long-time volunteers: an act of kindness does more good for you than those you're serving.

Once a month, I take my therapy dog, Cooper, to the local library where the children read stories to him. After all, dogs are non-judgmental and they make great listeners.

If you're short on time, choose a volunteer opportunity that requires only an hour or two each month. Volunteering gives you something positive to focus on and is a great way to give back to the community at large.

For more gratitude tips, visit Jacqueline Whitmore's blog,, or "like" her Facebook page.