Self-Care Challenge (Day 3): Expressing Gratitude

woman wearing a white shirt holding a gift with a red bow

On day 3 of my 366-day self-care challenge I explored expressing gratitude for the blessings in my life.

My self-care practice for the day involved gratitude, an expression of sincere appreciation. Gratitude helps us develop and nurture the emotive dimension of our health – the aspect that deals with how we express ourselves.

With the holiday season coming to a close, it’s easy to gloss over the flurry of activities without savoring the beautiful moments we experienced along the way.

Most of us express gratitude by saying words like “thank you” when others say or do something we perceive as kindness. But often we do this so casually that we don’t fully experience it. When a store clerk hands us our change, when someone holds the door open for us, or when we type the closing salutation of an email, we express gratitude in a way that sometimes feels more procedural than heart-felt. Honestly, I’ve seen more authentic expressions of gratitude from drivers waving their hands excitedly while merging into traffic. 

At its core, giving is linear. It is an act of transferring something of value from one person to another, whether it’s time, money, words, or some other gift, without expecting anything in return. Though it has no agenda.

But when a gift is acknowledged, it becomes a much more powerful act because it brings joy to both the giver and the receiver. At that point, the expression becomes multi-directional rather than linear.

With that in mind, taking time to express my gratitude was the focus of the day, and I decided that hand-written notes seemed like an appropriate gesture for acknowledging the special gifts I received this Christmas. The process also allowed me to savor each of the gifts as if I was receiving them for a second time.

In many ways, putting away holiday decorations symbolizes the commencement of one season and the beginning of another. As I removed each ornament and packed up the last of the decorations for the year, I reflected on how blessed I am to have the best gift of all: supportive family and friends.

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