If you want a sure-fire way to boost your charisma, deepen your relationships with others, and brighten someone’s day, get in the habit of regularly expressing appreciation for others.

The world can be a rough place. Whether we’re dealing with tight deadlines, angry bosses, frazzled spouses, disobedient children, mental or physical illness, ever-growing to-do lists, overbooked calendars, or impossible expectations, it’s easy to feel overworked and overwhelmed. These challenges are often accompanied by self-doubt, shame, and/or an overall feeling of not being good enough. Is it really any wonder why we’re so drawn to people who see, love, and appreciate us?

Humans have always craved acceptance and appreciation, but in today’s demanding world, even the simplest compliment or acknowledgement can make someone’s entire week. The best part is, these are free to give.

What’s more, when people feel like their efforts at something are recognized and appreciated, they are significantly more likely to continue those efforts. Everyone wins.

Simple Ways to Show Appreciation

1. Start The Day Off Right

In his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, David Carlson recommends taking a moment each morning to think of someone to thank. This could be a teacher, a parent, a friend, a coworker, or even the stranger who allowed you to merge into traffic. In fact, I found this very practice to be so powerful, I included it as one of the daily prompts in the 3-Minute Morning Journal. The point is, we all have much to be grateful for, and much of what we have in life (even down to a positive feeling) is the result of generosity from someone else.

Get into the habit each morning of identifying someone you can thank and you’ll be shocked at how much more positive, kind, and generous you become in turn.

2. Recognize the Little Things

One of my favorite ways to brighten someone’s days is to show appreciation for “the little things.” If I can tell someone put a little extra work into a project, I’ll make a point to let them know I noticed. If my girlfriend goes out of her way to stop by the office for lunch, I’ll message her later and let her know I appreciated her taking time out of her busy day. If an old friend comes to mind, I might reach out on Facebook and thank them for their friendship. Showing appreciation for the little things can make a big difference.

3. Write a Note

Compliments and kind words are nice, but if you want to add a little more “oomph” to that compliment, consider sending a written (yes, old-school, hand-written) message. I have a board up in my bedroom of a dozen or so hand-written notes people have given me over the years and I read them often. It takes a little more time and effort on your part, but that’s the point. People recognize that, and the positive effect grows exponentially.

Got it? Try it.

What can you do today to show appreciation for another person? Who can you compliment or recognize? Shoot them a quick text or email right now, or make a point to write a letter or compliment them later during the day.

Photo by Nam Hoang

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