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Why Intentional Thank Yous Go Further Than You Think

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Last month we received a surprise handwritten thank you letter from a regular guest at our community ‘Family Meal’ every Saturday evening.

As I read her note I was stirred to consider the power of gratitude and its effects on both the 'thanker' and the 'thankee'. I appreciated her thoughtfulness in taking the time to write it and letting us know the influence those who served her had each week.

I hope reading this letter touches your heart the same way it did mine.

Family Meal

Local families join together for a nutritious family-style meal prepared by volunteers, churches and community groups. Family Meal provides a safe environment where participants and volunteers fellowship and serve together in a way that instills respect and preserves dignity, while also presenting an opportunity to connect individuals with valuable resources.

Family meal takes place at Lower Lights Church on Saturdays from 4:15-6:30p. Would you like to serve families here in Franklinton?

Learn how you or your organization can get involved.

"Thank you so much for welcoming me in and feeding me a delicious supper not knowing me from anyone. You all were so wonderful to me and made me feel welcomed and loved. Thank you for the non judgmental smiles and even helping me when you didn’t even know you were helping me in the ways you did. Thank you so much!"

Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools for healthy living we have access to today. It not only impacts others, but it also doesn’t cost any money, doesn’t take much time and has enormous benefits on ourselves. When we start to be more intentionally grateful more consistently we begin to see those feelings come up more naturally and frequently. And, in turn, it creates in us a more positive attitude towards life and the ability to be more content.

Thankfulness is scientifically proven to affect everything from your relationships to your stress level to the quality of your sleep. Below are 7 different ways it affects us written by Psychotherapist and mental strength author, Amy Morin. I hope it inspires you to write that thank you note or make that call - you never know the ripples it will create and the impact it will truly have.

7 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude - Written by Amy Morin

1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.

Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.

2. Gratitude improves physical health.

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.

3. Gratitude improves psychological health.

Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.

Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.

5. Grateful people sleep better.

Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.

6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

7. Gratitude increases mental strength.

For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.

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