Digital #Gratitude

5 online ways to give thanks this November -- and all year long

Thank you in different languages on a smartphone's touchscreen

A little gratitude can work wonders. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that gratitude makes us healthier. Study upon study has shown that people who give thanks regularly have positive social relationships, feel more relaxed, make better decisions, and are generally happier people. Sounds good, right?

Today, it’s easier than ever before to show your thankfulness. From apps to trending hashtags, there are so many creative choices of forums for spreading a little positivity from the comfort of your smartphone. Here are five easy ways to get on the (digital) path to an attitude of gratitude:

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1. Keep a digital gratitude journal

There are a number of apps that focus on cultivating a spirit of thankfulness. The Gratitude! app challenges users to write five things they’re grateful for every day. Developers say that recording gratitude consecutively for three weeks creates a brighter outlook and a new habit of happiness. Plus, it’s pretty cool to be able to look back on all of the things that made you thankful. Other apps to try include Gratitude 365 and The Gratitude Journal.

2. Take a thankfulness challenge

Chances are you’ve seen one of these challenges floating around your Facebook news feed at one point or another. The premise is simple: every day, for a week, or two weeks, or a month, post what you’re thankful for. Hesitant to be so public? Try private messaging different friends every day, letting them know why you’re grateful to have them in your life.

3. Get some Twitter inspiration

When Thanksgiving rolls around, many people turn to Twitter to share the reasons why they’re thankful, but several trending hashtags prompt sharing your appreciation all year long. Follow the hashtags #AttitudeofGratitude, #WhyImThankful, and #Thankful to read through thousands of reasons why people all over the world are giving thanks. Tweet your own to join the uplifting conversation.

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4. Master the “thank you” email

While it’s no handwritten letter, sending a short “thank you” email can be a huge pick-me-up for someone in the middle of a long day. Thank a coworker for his or her hard work preparing for the morning meeting, or send digital appreciation to your roommate for listening to your worries about tomorrow’s big presentation. Knowing someone’s thinking of you makes a person feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

5. Pay it forward

Random acts of kindness work in the digital world, too. Browse through Kickstarter campaigns, and donate a few dollars towards somebody’s dream of opening a gallery or creating a documentary. Visit GiveForward.com, a fundraising platform where people raise money for loved ones in need. Can’t contribute financially? Share a story that speaks to your heart and offer words of encouragement.

(Originally published November 2014)

Jennifer Sawyer

Jen is digital content producer at Busted Halo. She previously produced video for TV and the web, working for the “The Martha Stewart Show,” ABC, Cooking Channel, and Yahoo. She is a member of the Writers Guild of America, and wrote for “Good Morning America,” before kissing freelance life goodbye. She lives in New York City.