Why are writing Thank You’s so important? And not just ones after a job interview or when your receive a Christmas present, but the whole spectrum of opportunities that can benefit from showing appreciation.
This article has a great roundup of all of the potential benefits from gratitude – https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-gratitude-research-questions/
From an individual perspective
For happiness & well-being: writing a thank you could encompass three of these activities below (from http://goodthinkinc.com/project/cbc-news-shawn-achors-6-exercises-for-happiness/)–
- Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you’re grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. They don’t have to be profound. It could be a really good cup of coffee or the warmth of a sunny day.
- The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint.
- The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant.
- Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you’re doing and concentrate on breathing. Even a short mindful break can result in a calmer, happier you.
- Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good.
- Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends. Our social connections are one of the best predictors for success and health, and even life expectancy
From an organizational perspective <https://hbr.org/2013/01/the-price-of-incivility>
One way to help create a culture of respect and bring out your employees’ best is to express your appreciation. Personal notes are particularly effective, especially if they emphasize being a role model, treating people well, and living the organization’s values. Doug Conant, a former CEO of Campbell Soup, is well aware of the power of personal recognition. During his tenure as president and CEO, he sent more than 30,000 handwritten notes of thanks to employees.
Companies we’ve worked with calculate that the tab for incivility can run into the millions. Some years back Cisco put together a detailed estimate of what incivility was costing the company. It factored in its reputation as a consistently great place to work, assumed an extremely low probability of rudeness among its employees, and looked at only three potential costs. Even in this exemplary workplace, it was estimated that incivility cost $12 million a year. That realization led to the creation of Cisco’s global workplace civility program.
From a local-to-Centre-County-gratitude-in-action perspective
Want to go above and beyond? Try and do a gratitude visit, as described by Martin Seligman, UPenn psychology professor and author of Flourish.
Want some inspiration? Check out these videos
- Kids sharing with their perspectives with their moms http://www.upworthy.com/these-kids-finally-say-what-they-really-think-about-mom-and-her-reaction-priceless-9
- John Cena reacting to fans’ surprise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnCunDK0tSw
- Three minute TED talk reminder on why to say thank you https://www.ted.com/talks/laura_trice_suggests_we_all_say_thank_you
- TED talk on nature, beauty, and gratitude (includes Gratitude short film) https://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude
- An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg
- Kid President (1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA5Qpt1JRE4
- Kid President (2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5yCOSHeYn4
“The number-one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said they got no recognition for good work last year” (Gallup, Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life, 2001)
“I’m also a believer in heliotropic leadership. The “heliotropic effect” argues that all living systems lean toward positive energy rather than negative energy – that people remember better, learn faster and perform better in a positive environment.” — Brig. Gen. Mark Quantock
Research from the John Templeton Foundation found that 88% of respondents said that expressing gratitude to colleagues “makes me feel happier and more fulfilled.” (http://info.totalwellnesshealth.com/blog/surprising-benefits-of-gratitude-in-the-workplace)
Here is a great list of books on gratitude: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/gratitude-books-oliver-sachs/. Below is an excerpt from that article, with the three books which I have read and also recommend (I also still need to read more Emmons!):
Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons
Emmons’ final entry on our list is Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. This is another book that aims to teach and inspire, and judging by the positive reviews, it has succeeded.
The author weaves in a little bit of gratitude research, some perspective from literature, psychology, religion, and anthropology, and finishes it all with a call to action on cultivating gratitude. This is a fantastic read for anyone who is looking to learn more about why gratitude can be such a life-changing addition, and how they can apply gratitude to their own life.
Thanks! is available for purchase from Amazon here.
A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik
In this personal and touching memoir, John Kralik describes how he went from an all-time low to a happy and flourishing life through the simple act of writing thank-you notes. During a particularly difficult time in his life, Kralik had an epiphany:
perhaps he would find life more manageable if he focused on what he did have rather than what he didn’t have.
He began his gratitude journey by setting a goal for himself: over the next year, he would write 365 thank-you notes, one per day. As he produced each handwritten note, he noticed profound changes occurring in his life. In A Simple Act of Gratitude, Kralik outlines a roadmap for anyone struggling to make similar changes in their life.
As the Amazon description says, “To read A Simple Act of Gratitude is to be changed.” To check out this book, click here.
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan
This New York Times bestselling book details one woman’s efforts to keep her New Year’s resolution of being more grateful and optimistic. Janice Kaplan, a journalist and the former Editor-in-Chief of Parade magazine, weaves academic research and evidence-based findings in with her own personal journey to present readers with an excellent reason to give gratitude a shot.
This book is an excellent choice for more casual readers interested in gratitude, as the tone is informal and accessible, but it also presents a message that everyone can benefit from receiving. If you’d like to join Kaplan on her gratitude journey, you can find the book on Amazon here.