11/18/2013 06:54 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Got Gratitude? Give It Away.

It's one thing to be grateful, and to keep all those yummy vibes to yourself, but it's another to speak and write words of gratitude to others. Do you know how much a simple, heartfelt "thank you" can change someone's life?

Kind words are encouraging, fueling the recipient to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thoughtful words of thanks let others know not only how much you appreciate them, but also that you cared enough to take the time out of your busy schedule to send some word love their way.

Five People Whom You Should Bestow Gratitude Upon
  • Friends and Family: Often our friends and family hear the least amount of kind words from us. It's sort of like we just expect them to know we are grateful for all they do. Let's send the message home in a handwritten love letter. Yes, I said love letter. Write a letter, on a nice piece of stationery with your favorite color of ink, and tell your family and friends just exactly what it is that you love about them, appreciate about them, and are completely grateful for. Seal it up in an envelope, mail it off, or tuck it in a sock drawer or under a pillow, as a nice word surprise!
  • Clients: A handwritten thank you note, goes a long, long way. Express your gratitude to your clients. Simply thank your clients for their business and support. (This is not the time nor place to pitch your new product or try and sell a service.) Be sure to hand-address the envelopes too, as this act gives them that extra personal touch.
  • Colleagues: How are you showing gratitude to your network of trusted colleagues? A great way to express how thankful you are is to send referrals their way, as this is the highest form of compliment. You can also make virtual introductions to people you meet and know that would be great resources for one another.
  • Strangers: Yep, strangers need some love too. Random acts of kindness do not go unnoticed. One day on the train, my coffee spilled everywhere when the train came to a sudden stop. Everyone around me jumped out of the way and scowled at me for disrupting their morning with my leaky beverage. Except one man. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a stack of napkins and handed them over, with a smile. He didn't have to, but you know what? We still see each other now and then, and stop and check in. I am forever grateful for his act of kindness!
  • Self: Let's not forgot to be kind and compassionate to ourselves. A gratitude journal is a wonderful way to record the day to day occurrences you are grateful for. And the best part is that since you took the time to write them down, you can reflect on them for many days into the future.

Your words matter. Your words heal. Dishing out gracious words and sharing them freely with others is one way you can give your gratitude away, and change lives in the process.