This is a notion that I had thought of for some time now, however, taking the time to say thank you and show appreciation is not silly at all. Taking the time to say thank you is actually critical, not only to your relationships but also to your well-being. “Thank you;” are collectively the two most powerful words in any language.
Research published in the 'Journal of Personality and Social Psychology' found that the small but mighty gesture of audibly saying “thank you” doubled the likelihood that those providing the help would provide assistance again. The research also found that a ‘thank you” yielded an increase of 50 % in terms of productivity and an increase of 15 % in the average amount of time a person spent providing assistance. The researchers also noted a spill-over effect - that being, gratitude begets gratitude.
So, why is the simple “thank you” such a powerful tool? The researchers found that expressions of gratitude increased feelings of both self-efficacy and social worth. They also found that it is the feeling of being socially valued more than the feeling of competence that encourages people to provide more help in the future. In short, people like being acknowledged and valued for their efforts.
Saying "Thank you" is mostly an emotional act, it connects one person to another. Saying ‘thank you' doesn’t just acknowledge someone else's effort, thoughtfulness, intent, or action, it directly acknowledges the person themself. Why does this matter? Because - acknowledging each other is our basic responsibility as human beings living in a community with other human beings. We are a connected communicative community, that seeks Recognition and Praise in the same esteem and same basic need for Sex and Money. Acknowledgement, recognition, praise, and expressions of gratitude – what is incredible is that these don’t need to be achieved via an extravagant or expensive gift, rather they can be achieved, for free, with two words – “Thank you.”
According to positive psychologists, the words ‘thank you‘ are no longer just good manners, they are also beneficial to the self. Studies have also suggested that being grateful can improve well-being, physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and assist us in coping with stressful times in our lives.
For most of us, expressing our thanks is an everyday occurrence and we tend to think nothing of it bar the passing of words. But psychologically it has a very important role to play for both the person giving and the person receiving. To ensure you express freely -
- Set aside time every week to acknowledge people’s good impact on your life, and tell them so. Whether it be a short text, a quick phone call or a generous act of kindness.
- Handwrite thank-you notes whenever you can. The personal touch matters in our digital age.
- Foster a culture of gratitude within yourself, and practise it daily. It makes you feel better too!
Another way to think of 'Thankyou' and to express gratitude is thanking yourself. It seems an odd concept, however, it is the prime reason why I decided to write a blog post for 'Thankyou' as a concept. This most important thank you goes to the person who should always be number one in your life. And that's you! I know from my personal experience that in life we all get beat up, and struggle every now and then. In high school, we may not have gotten the grade we thought we deserved on a test or exam, given the effort of the study put in to succeed. Also, maybe the person we were interested in, was unrequited in return. In hindsight, we can accept that it was likely for the best, however, it still was hurtful when it happened. Maybe we didn’t, or don’t, have the job we desire or the family life we would hope for. These things happen... Yes, we all struggle and have our own personal vices and we all get knocked down from time to time.
But . . . we are still here. And god, we handled every time we were downtrodden, hurt, diminished and let down! The importance here is the act of thanking yourself – for getting past it all and for persevering and for being goddam resilient.
Thank yourself for all the times that you kept a great attitude towards your goals, and smiled and showed others kindness outside whilst your world was crumbling inside. Thank you, for all the hard work and study you did, in the past, last year and last month, last week and yesterday, and the hard work you’re going to do next month and next year. When was the last time somebody thanked you for doing what seems to just be chores? Whether it is washing the dishes or mowing the lawn, those things don’t just happen by themselves. Especially if you live alone, you’re responsible for all of it then. Stop and thank yourself! You live in a clean and orderly home because you spent the time and effort to make it so... Thank yourself for your consistent effort and for just showing up for yourself daily.
In addition to thanking yourself for all the things that you have done, say thanks to yourself for all the things that you also didn’t do. Wouldn’t you have preferred to go to that party back in the day, but you studied instead and got into the course you wanted. There may have been so many times that you worked late, or came in early, or gave up a weekend, or chose to allow others the last piece of whatever item you wanted – and even if there was a thank you mumbled to you, did you take time to thank yourself for that act of kindness? You need to give yourself credit for being the person that you are.
Give yourself a big thank you for just being. It took you a lifetime to get where you are, and you put in the effort day after day, even if it was just getting out of bed in the morning. Think about children, yours or maybe an unaware youngster at the local park playground. Just their existence, their smile as they laugh and play, can bring pleasure to others. Well, you bring the same pleasure to many people and you may not even know it or refuse to accept it as truth. So, thank yourself for being the great person you have become throughout the lifetime that you have lived.
Thank yourself for your struggles, as those moments of darkness illuminated what is truly important to you and gave you the time and space for growth.
Let’s take today to thank ourselves for all that we do, and that we don’t do, and what we have been through and experienced on a daily basis, and most importantly for who we are, ourselves as beautiful imperfectly perfect people.