Saying thank you to someone is a pretty simple thing that can mean so much – and it just so happens that International Thank You Day is celebrated on the 11 January each year.
But, did you know that whether it’s a simple thank you to a coworker for their help on a deal, or a heartfelt thank you to a client for doing business with you – or even a loved one for their support and care, taking the time to say thank you can have a big impact on both the giver and receiver.
According to research in positive psychology, gratitude has been linked to several benefits, including increased happiness, improved physical health, and better social connections.
For example, one study found that people who kept a gratitude journal reported higher levels of satisfaction with their lives and a more positive outlook on the future.
Another study found gratitude was associated with lower levels of inflammation, a marker of physical health. In addition, gratitude has been linked to stronger relationships and social connections, as it helps to build trust and strengthen bonds between people.
- Improved relationships: Of course, who doesn’t love it when someone stops and thanks you for something. Generally, you would hope that this can help build stronger, more positive relationships. Research has shown that it can do this through increasing feelings of social connection and support (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
- Increased happiness: Several studies have found that expressing gratitude can increase overall happiness and well-being. For example, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling more satisfied with their lives and more optimistic about the future (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
- Improved physical health: Can expressing gratitude improve physical health? Some researchers say it can. For example, a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that people who practice gratitude had stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure (Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006).
- Increased mental strength in times of stress: Gratitude has been linked to increased mental strength and resilience. For example, a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that gratitude was associated with greater mental strength in the face of stress (Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008).
- Improved sleep: Several studies have found that gratitude may be linked to better sleep quality. For example, a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being found that gratitude was associated with better sleep quality in a sample of college students (Smith, Segal, & Segal, 2014).
So what are some ways that you can incorporate expressing gratitude in your life?
- Keep a gratitude journal: One simple way to practice gratitude is to keep a journal in which you write down things you are grateful for on a daily or weekly basis. This can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life and cultivate a sense of appreciation.
- Express thanks to others: Another way to practice gratitude is to express your thanks and appreciation to others. This can be as simple as thanking someone for their help or telling a loved one how much they mean to you.
- Practice mindfulness: Gratitude is usually closely tied to mindfulness, or the practice of being present and fully engaged in the present moment. By focusing on the present moment and the things you are grateful for, you can cultivate a sense of gratitude in your daily life. This can involve activities such as meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath and the present moment.
In a world where it’s easy to get caught up in work and who’s doing what on social media, it’s important to stop and recognise the people who make a difference in our lives – as it’s both free and a win-win.