Several months ago I pulled up to the Starbucks window and the barista said, “The guy in front of you paid for you coffee. Here you go – you don’t owe anything.”
“Really? Wow!”, I thought to myself. Amazed and happy about what had just happened, I sipped my latte and decided this was a very cool way to pay it forward.
Buying coffee for strangers at Starbucks seemed like such a simple way to share my abundance in life with others. So I decided to pay for the coffee bill for the person behind me when I visited Starbucks a week later.
Since then, my office staff has joined in the practice in paying it forward on a regular basis. Edith, my lead designer at Taylor Design Group, has already received 2 pay backs from the coffee window!
Expressing gratitude is one of the best ways to keep your life balanced. Psychology researchers have also linked a variety of benefits to expressing gratitude… better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness and more happiness.
Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming – just mindful. Here are a few ways to express gratitude in your life.
1. Celebrate a paycheck or new client sign up by paying for, or taking care of something, anonymously for someone. Pay for a stranger’s coffee or lunch, pick up trash in a person’s yard, or grab the cereal on the top shelf for the elderly woman in the supermarket.
2. Reward people who give you excellent service by letting their manager know what a great job they’re doing or by giving them a generous tip.
I travel a lot and stay in many hotels, so I try to leave a thank you note and a substantial tip for whoever cleans my room. Although they may not have cleaned my room before I arrived, I know they’re cleaning it for someone else and I’m sure my tokens of appreciation help make a positive impact in their day.
3. Express your gratitude for the special people in your life. The next time you see something that you know your friend would enjoy… pick it up and give to them.
This is not about buying some big thing or about a birthday present. It’s more about a special rock or a shell, a book to share, or a copy of a photo they’d enjoy.
Sharing your good fortune creates more happiness in your life and in the lives of others. So please be aware of your feelings during these personal expressions of gratitude. If you take the time to relish and savor the event in your imagination, you’ll deepen the emotional impact and you’ll have lasting benefits.