Many of us have found increased reasons to be grateful and appreciative this last twelve months or so, perhaps due to the change of pace.

These unprecedented times have led many of us to realise how much our comfortable homes, environments, close family and friends mean to us.

This year has emerged as a time to be thankful for what we have, but also to really value the special people who’ve stepped up for us and helped us through these long days and tough times.

Our reflections may find us asking, ‘how can I ever thank you for all you’ve done for me, all the thoughtfulness carried out on my behalf?’

Let’s reflect on some ways to answer this question.

Acknowledging what’s been done for us with enthusiasm is a positive way of saying thank you. And, of course, we don’t know, are unlikely to ever know, what the personal cost was for them to do something on our behalf. Making time for us, inconveniencing their family, stepping outside of their own comfort zone could all have been factors. Being openly appreciative and grateful goes some way to showing that we acknowledge and value all that they’ve done for us.

Highlighting one specific element or aspect of their help and clearly illustrating how it’s made a difference to our life, our stress levels and happiness is a positive way to thank someone for their attention and support. Focusing on how they’ve contributed and helped, perhaps by improving our knowledge, our ability to cope, our skills and motivation levels gives a clear appreciation and legitimacy to our thanks.

Recommendations are an effective way of saying thank you. In a business setting, we’re likely to only recommend someone we have confidence in, so any assurances carry weight in other people’s decision-making process. A genuine, heartfelt recommendation, whether it be to our inner circle, on social media or in a networking setting demonstrates our faith in the person we’re referring. Spreading the word and giving testament as to how they’ve helped us is a valuable way of giving thanks for their input and quality of work.

Reciprocating, whenever possible, is an important way of showing thanks in relevant situations. There may not be many opportunities to reciprocate, but referencing someone’s good work whenever we can, outlining how they’ve helped us, may go some way to returning the compliment and supporting them in the best possible way.

Their care for us may have consisted of giving us time to take a much-needed break, of them checking in on us when they knew we were feeling low, of helping out with childcare or assisting during an unprecedented working from home challenge. Our reciprocation ‘thank you’ may take the form of a lovely homemade cake or dinner, or enthusing to others about how helpful they’ve been. There may be several potential options, with our efforts to support them often being seen as thanks enough.

Being a good friend is a sensitive way of saying ‘thank you’. Maybe noticing if they’ve gone a little quiet, taking the time to touch base, making a friendly, conversational phone call, dropping by for a coffee or including them in something that we think would be of interest to them. These are all ways to show that we care and value them, rather than focussing solely on what they can do for us.

Loyalty is also a good way of demonstrating thanks, sticking up for them if required, but also finding ways to praise their positive skills, traits and good points. As is refusing to be drawn into any negative gossip or conversations about them, but instead cutting any hint of that happening short.

Remembering things of significance to them, their special dates, birthdays, anniversaries, can be another way to return the compliment and demonstrate thanks. Or noticing something they might like or need, perhaps recalling a book they’ve mentioned or seeing a promo for a concert or show they’d be interested in, even a new series starting on TV; passing on information that they’d appreciate is a good way to demonstrate that the relationship is not one-sided and that we’re thinking of them too.

Being the best version of ourself often is the ultimate way to repay someone’s belief in us. Making the most of any chances that come our way and seizing those opportunities. Availing ourselves of ways to maximise on the support we’ve been given enables them to feel proud of us and their role in our journey. Good supportive friends love to see how well we’ve done and relish their part in our success.

And, if all else fails, a handwritten note, card or simple bunch of flowers is a great way to communicate our thanks.

Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor. Author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon.

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