(HealthyAccess)- There are many aspects of healthy relationships. They require trust, intimacy, communication, and connection. To nurture these relationships, it’s also important to show gratitude. While being grateful may seem simple, it can mean the difference between other people feeling appreciated versus taken for granted.
Researchers have found that gratitude is essential when it comes to maintaining strong, healthy relationships. In fact, they discovered that partners who often expressed gratitude received a reciprocal response. Basically, the very act of expressing appreciation caused the other person to return and express it, creating a stronger, more positive relationship.
While gratitude is key to strong romantic partnerships, it can strengthen any relationship. Being grateful, however, is about more than just telling others that they are appreciated. Here are five key ways to use gratitude to make relationships stronger.
#1 Say Thank You Often
It’s easy to become complacent in relationships, taking what other people do for granted because it has become expected. To enrich relationships with gratitude, it’s important to say “thank you” often–both for routine and special efforts. It may feel silly to thank someone for taking out the trash each time we notice them doing it, but regularly expressing appreciation is a healthy habit that can make our relationships stronger.
#2 Give Genuine Compliments
Another way to show appreciation is to pay genuine compliments to one another. While physical compliments are often appreciated, appreciation can also be shown for effort, talent or other traits. Instead of issuing a lackluster and often-used compliment, it’s important to consider what we actually appreciate and find a way to communicate that. “You have a beautiful smile,” might go further than, “You look nice”.
#3 Pay Attention to Gratitude Received
Relationships are a two-way street, and while it’s important to express gratitude, it’s equally important to acknowledge when gratitude is being expressed. By being mindful of when gratitude is given, we’re less likely to feel taken for granted and more likely to want to be thoughtful and appreciative within the relationship. It can be easy to focus instead on every time our actions go unnoticed and seemingly unappreciated, but it’s actually better for our relationships to notice the gratitude offered instead.
#4 Praise Them Publicly and Privately
A social media post praising someone else may seem adequate for expressing appreciation, but often, this form of gratitude seems performative–more for other people to notice us than for the other person we claim to appreciate. Making sure we are appreciative of other people both publicly and privately can help our relationships grow stronger. Even if no one else is around to hear it, praising our partners, friends, or family members can be powerful.
Expressing gratitude isn’t something reserved for once a year when we carve a turkey (or turkey-alternative) and focus on appreciation. To keep our relationships going strong, it’s important to cultivate a gratitude habit. Regularly expressing how much we appreciate others will naturally lead to that appreciation being returned. In an atmosphere of appreciation, our relationships can grow from strength to strength.
~Here’s to a Happier, Healthier Life!
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