We’ve all heard about practicing gratitude- but how about practicing appreciation? Read on for simple, practical ways to show appreciation to your colleagues, friends and husband.
When we appreciate something, we recognize its full worth. We value it and what it brings to our lives. It’s a slightly different beast to gratitude, which is when we feel grateful for the item, experience or person.
As such, gratitude can be more of an inward experience, as you focus on how that thing has benefited you. By contrast, appreciation focuses us outwards, to what that thing holds in and of itself. You must first notice what’s going on around you, not just inside you, in order to appreciate.
To be balanced, I believe both practicing gratitude and appreciation are important, which is why I have some simple and practical ways to show appreciation to your colleagues, to your friends, and most importantly, to your husband.
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How to show appreciation to your colleagues
Being shown appreciation is highly motivating and yet we don’t show it at work nearly enough.
Send an appreciation email weekly
Remember how I said above that you must notice in order to appreciate? When you notice a good job someone has done – in whatever area- send the person who did it a quick email. One I sent last week said something like, “Hey, I wanted to say how I was impressed with the job you’ve been doing with X. Your efforts have gone above and beyond. X is lucky to have you as a mentor.” Note how the focus is on them and the specific things they’ve done that you have appreciated.
To make it easier on yourself, schedule this act into your calendar. Every Wednesday is what I call my “good news” day, and the first task of the morning is to send that email.
Give thank you cards or notes
As well as sending emails, giving something tangible like a thank you card is another easy and simple way show appreciation to your colleagues for something they have done. The trick here is to harness the rule of convenience and buy a box of cards or notes so that the moment you think about it, you do it. I love these for a quick and elegant thank you:
Tell your boss about what they’ve done
When someone does something good – let your boss, or their immediate superior – know about it. Say something like, “I wanted to let you know what a great job X did on the recent presentation to XYZ. She was informative, interesting and entertaining.”
Do something tangible for them
You can also show your appreciation by doing something for your colleagues. For example, in New Zealand teachers are responsible for doing duty on the playground at key times throughout the day. Doing someone’s duty is a simple way to show your appreciation and takes nothing but your time. You simply say, “I’m doing your duty today. Go to the staffroom and enjoy your break!” Many jobs have similar mundane tasks that don’t require any special skill that you can easily do.
Provide morning or afternoon tea
There’s something about providing food at the workplace that make people feel appreciated. Every now and again, bring in some baking, or other delicious goodies for your team. Present it attractively and send everyone an email asking to join you in the staffroom to share. Before you start eating, state simply how much you appreciate working with them.
For bonus points, make a note to yourself about what they really like to eat. Over time, I have built a list of what the people with whom I work the most love in terms of cookies, slices or cakes. This way, I can make sure I buy exactly what they like. (It’s easier to do than you might think too. People often comment when something is their favorite and then it’s a simple matter of writing it down for future reference).
How to show appreciation to your friends
Give them a small, personalized gift every now and again, just because
Part of being a good friend is knowing what your friend likes. Maybe they have an obsession with scented candles, swans, or stationery. If you’re in a shop and you see one of these items, consider buying it, and gift it to them with a small note thanking them for being such a good friend.
Give them your time
As you get older and have many competing demands on your time, it can become more challenging to make space for all the things. Show your friend you appreciate them by scheduling regular catch-up sessions and don’t cancel your plans. When you are together, give them your full attention. Put your phone away!
Follow up news
When your friend mentions something, don’t just file it away or forget it. Make the effort to inquire about it later. Is their husband going through a rough patch in their job? If so, wait a couple of days and then ask how he is going. Make it clear that you listen and you care. Following up is the best way of doing this.
Do something for them
As I mentioned for co-workers, doing something for people is a great way to make them feel appreciated. Now the key thing here is to do not offer. How many times, for example, has someone offered to do something for you, only to have you reply, “No thanks; I’ve got this.” Instead actually DO the thing. If they’re having a hard time, make their fave dinner and drop it around to their house early in the afternoon, so they don’t have to cook. Or go around, make them a cup of tea and then fold their washing.
How to show appreciation to your husband
Say thank you
As I mentioned in 10 must-have habits for a happy marriage, saying thank you can be the easiest but most often overlooked thing to do in a marriage. Too often we can get caught in a trap of pitching against our husbands when the goal is to work together as a team. You can totally turn this on its head by saying thank you for ALL the things that he does.
Write him a love letter
Leaving little notes in his drawers or briefcase is an easy way to show your appreciation- as is writing a more detailed love letter where you mention all the things you love about him. I use this super-cute love letter kit:
Buy him something he’s mentioned in passing.
Maybe he’s browsing on the net and something catches his eye, or he spies something in a brochure or in store. Note down what it is, and give him a surprise by purchasing that thing and gifting it to him at the next opportunity you have.
Hold that hug, cuddle on the couch or anything that promotes physical touch
Does your husband eve give you a hug and before you know it, you’re squirming out of his grip to go unload the dishwasher or tackle some work emails? Take the time to relax into his cuddle and wait until he is ready to let go. When you sit on the couch together, make sure your bodies are touching each other. Be connected physically.
Praise him to others
Let others know what a great man your husband is. Take the opportunity to praise him up in front of whoever you can: your family, his family, your friends. Verbalizing your appreciation reinforces it to yourself, gives him kudos, and often gets back to him as well.
Appreciation is something we all need, but frequently forget to give. These simple and practical tips to show appreciation to your colleagues, friends and husband will help to make appreciation part of your everyday life and spread some joy in this beautiful world.