What costs nothing, but pays dividends to both the giver and receiver? Two words: “Thank you.” The simplicity of the phrase can be deceptive in its power. Words of appreciation can have a profound impact on us. They can uplift us, build our confidence, and encourage us to continue to share with and support others. But research reveals a truth we don’t often consider - that the sayer of the phrase benefits as well.
Giving thanks makes us happier and even improves our cognitive performance. With so much to gain for both the giver and receiver, it's no wonder that “Thank you” is a phrase we are conditioned to say.
Many of us learned to say “Thank you” at a young age. Parents teach their children to say it, incorporating it into lessons on manners. Sometimes, they’ll prompt them with the question, “What do you say?” immediately upon receiving a gift or act of kindness.
The intention is not only for the child to learn the importance of showing appreciation, but to make it such a common practice that it becomes a habitual response. In fact, we may extend gratitude so routinely that we don’t pay much attention as we do it.
It Gives Value
We say “Thanks” to store clerks as we check out at stores, when someone holds the door for us, and after compliments. If it’s used routinely, though, does the phrase lose its sincerity? Not necessarily. Even if it’s said to you quickly in passing, the person at least paused for a brief moment to acknowledge you.
As humans, we have a natural desire to be noticed and appreciated; it gives us a sense of worth and connection. Appreciation is a way to recognize someone’s value, and we all long to be valued. Saying “Thank you” is a simple yet meaningful way to demonstrate that you appreciate someone - that you aren't taking them for granted.
It’s an Expression of Gratitude
The novelist Gertrude Stein once said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone” to demonstrate that expressing thankfulness is important. Communicating is pivotal to gratitude. Although gratitude is commonly described as an emotion we spontaneously feel, it’s also an action when it is expressed. Saying “Thank you” is perhaps the simplest and most effective form of expressing gratitude. After all, it requires only about one second.
It Helps Us Recognize Goodness
The practice of gratitude is a useful method that psychologists often suggest patients use to help with health issues such as depression or anxiety. It shifts focus away from negative feelings and produces awareness for what is good. It may be challenging for a person struggling or in a tough situation to feel grateful, but it’s still possible to cultivate a sense of appreciation.
It often starts with recognition for goodness in our surroundings, like the beauty of nature, or “existential gratitude” - feeling thankful for our own lives and health. The notion of gratitude brings about positivity and peace.
It Has a Positive Ripple Effect
Sometimes we want to do more than just say “Thank you”. For gifts or larger gestures of kindness, a thank you card or a returned favor may be warranted. And in some instances, we may feel inspired to pay it forward to someone else. Gratitude is contagious. When we feel noticed and appreciated, it motivates us to make others feel the same way.
One study shows that just witnessing gratitude can inspire people to pass it on! We created notes to self® socks initially with the wearer in mind, but have also found that our socks are a very meaningful way to show appreciation and breathe belief into the recipient.Do you have someone in your life that you’d like to thank? Visit our notes to self® Products Page and brighten their day with a pair of our positive affirmation socks.