3 Simple Gratitude Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships

Hello Team Unicorn / MFF / Ballers!

My name is Andrew and I’m one of the founders over at Tribute.co.

We’re on a mission to spread gratitude and human connection in the world but, more specifically, gratitude for the people who make our lives awesome – moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends, significant others and even… gym partners.

Gratitude was not a major part of my life until the summer of 2014, when my girlfriend Miki gave me the most meaningful gift I had ever received.

When I got home on the night of my 27th birthday, I swung the door open and was greeted by 25 of my closest family members and friends throwing me a surprise party… but that was just the beginning.

My girlfriend Miki surprised me again by pulling out a projector, putting a video on the wall, and hitting play. What I didn’t know was that she had contacted all of my favorite people and asked them each to send her a one-minute video telling me why they love me. She collected all the videos and compiled them into a single montage. I sat there for 20 minutes crying what Alan Watts would call “Tears of Wonder Joy” as I watched the videos stream through from my best friend, mom, dad and brother.

I felt more connected to my community than I had at any other point in my entire life. I felt more seen, cared about, and loved than ever before. On top of that, I felt more purpose and confidence than I had at any other moment in my life… I felt a confidence that I haven’t let go of since. Knowing the impact I was having on the people I care about reaffirmed that I was “enough.”

After hearing how difficult it was for Miki to create the video (15 hours), I had the realization that everyone should be able to feel as appreciated and as valued as I did at that moment, and the only reason more people didn’t receive this powerful gift was because of how difficult it was to create. In that moment, Tribute was born. Tribute is our technology platform that automates the process of collecting these meaningful videos and compiling them into a single gratitude-filled montage that you can give to the people you care about, on any occasion.

And since we started this journey, we’ve become de-facto experts on the transformative power of gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is one of the simplest and most impactful things you can do on a daily basis.

Gratitude is proven to boost our overall health as well as our emotional well-being. Research from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and several other sources have shown that practicing gratitude heightens our immune system to fight illness, decreases blood pressure, and lowers our risk for depression significantly.

The 60-Second Gratitude Practice

  1. Close your eyes and take several deep, grounding breaths
  2. Think of three things you are grateful for
  3. Think of three things you are looking forward to

Science has shown that this little practice for 30 days in a row will make you about 10% happier… I know, shit is cray.

Gratitude also improves our relationships, and great friends aren’t just nice to have, they’re an essential component to a full, rewarding life. In Harvard’s 75-year study on adult development, the director of the study Dr. Waldinger proclaimed front and center, “The clearest message we got from this study is that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

Sharing Gratitude = More Gratitude and Better Friends

Sharing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to reinforce our important social ties, and it shifts our focus from what our lives lack, to the abundance that is already present and, most importantly, to those loved ones who are present for us.

  • Sharing our appreciation with someone allows the recipient to recognize their own value. That person gets to see the specific virtues and characteristics that we often deny to ourselves because of the internal critic and self defeating internal dialogue with which so many of us struggle.
  • Expressing gratitude amplifies our own appreciation. Research shows that sharing our gratitude for others out loud increases our overall feelings of contentment.
  • When we share our appreciation with someone, that person is more likely to share gratitude with someone in their direct (and even indirect) social circles. So sharing your gratitude is literally creating a never-ending “gratitude loop.”

3 Techniques to Actively Share Gratitude

1. I Love You, Because

Robert Cialdini is the author of Influence, one of the seminal books on communication and persuasion. In his book, he talks about how “it is not our statement of love that impacts the recipient, it is our explanation of it.”

When we say I love you, it is an important and meaningful statement, but it is actually when we take time to qualify our love with an explanation that the true authenticity and thought comes through.

  • I love you, because you make me the best version of myself.
  • I love you, because you make me laugh harder than anyone else.
  • I love you, because you were the only friend that showed up to help me move.

Next time you want to say “I love you,” take the time to bridge it with a “because” and watch what happens!

2. Unify the Conversation

Whenever the people in our lives are celebrating big milestones like birthdays, weddings or graduations, make them count by unifying the conversation.

Unifying the conversation simply means bringing people together through a shared prompt. i.e…

  • What is your favorite thing about XXX?
  • What is your favorite memory with XXX?
  • What makes XXX awesome?

When you give people a prompt, it makes it much easier for them to share authentic, emotional responses that might not otherwise have a voice.

  • You show people that this type of communication is appropriate and celebrated in your community.
  • You plant an answer in the back of people’s minds so they know what to say.
  • You create “positive peer pressure” by showing your group that everyone is doing this positive thing together.

Next time you are at a meal for a friend or coworker’s birthday, be a conversation catalyst and unify the conversation.

Life is too short for small talk anyways.

3. If You Have Anything Nice to Say…

Remember that adage we all heard a million times growing up, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

At Tribute, we realized that this statement has exponentially more impact if you take out the two don’ts. It then becomes, “If you have anything nice to say, say it all.

That simple message will transform the way you bring gratitude into your life and connect with people.

  • When you see someone who looks nice, tell them.
  • When someone makes you happy, let them know.
  • When you feel love for someone, share it.

This little idea can change your relationships and life for good.


READY TO PUT THESE IDEAS INTO ACTION?

Visit Tribute to learn more and give the gift of gratitude.

A Tribute is “the most meaningful gift on Earth.” It’s a video montage of friends and family sharing their gratitude for someone they want to celebrate. Tribute’s collaborative video technology makes it easy to invite friends, collect videos and compile the final video. To date, 80% of Tribute recipients have reported crying “Tears of Joy.” Seriously, that is an actual statistic they track! You can almost think of it as a “eulogy for the living.” (A much better time to receive a eulogy, right?!)


Andrew Horn is on a mission to bring gratitude and meaningful conversation to the masses. He is the Co-Founder, CEO and Chief Gratitude Giver of Tribute.co, which the New Yorker calls “Hallmark 2.0.” Before starting Tribute, Andrew founded two NGOs and a strategic communications agency. He often speaks and writes (Inc., HuffPo, MindBodyGreen) on “Meaningful Communication,” how to meet new people, connect with anyone and make people care about your ideas.

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