January 29, 2016

3 Beautiful Ways to Strengthen a “Thank You.”

Flickr/amy gizienski

A school secretary was filing school lunch forms when she received a package. Inside were a dozen umbrella-shaped frosted cookies.

A week earlier, a mom with two toddlers had been volunteering in her older child’s classroom. She had parked two blocks away, and when she was ready to leave, there was a huge rainstorm—an absolute downpour.

“I’ll watch the kids while you get the car,” the secretary said. “Here, take my golf umbrella.”

While that mom might have made that secretary’s day—what’s amazing is that the simple act of writing a thank you letter has been found to result in a huge increase in happiness for the person who wrote it, with the benefits lasting for over a month!

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” ~ Gertrude Stein

Here are three ways to make a “thank you” even more memorable:

Provide details. Instead of saying: “Thanks for being a great boss”—instead, say: “Thanks for noticing what I do well, bringing passion to our goals and keeping meetings so productive.” Instead of scribbling: “Thanks for being a great teacher”—say: “Thanks for showing my first-grader those special rhymes to write his numbers and teaching him those hilarious grammar songs.”

Get creative. Write thank you notes, texts, emails and post-it notes. Start a thank you journal. Write a thank you rhyme or rap. Make a thank you tree with details of kindnesses on the leaves. Bake thank you muffins. Give thank you hugs. Send a photo of yourself holding up a thank you sign. Make a thank you video or voice memo recording. Frame a quote about how someone’s kind act helped you. Make a thank you cake. When we get creative with the way we express gratitude, it shows that we put effort and care into the process.

Give back. When you say, “thank you,” think about what you can give back. If you thank your friend for babysitting your kids, give them a coupon saying you’ll babysit theirs. If you thank your partner for cleaning the gutters—pull the weeds. If you thank your favorite grocery store clerk for being the fastest and friendliest checker-out person, then write a glowing letter to his manager.

An active “thank you” is one way to pause on the positive moments that sneak into our lives. Expressing gratitude helps us linger on what’s right.


Author: Erin Leyba

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/amy gizienski

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