I truly believe that there are two phrases which, were they said as often as they could be, would change the world for the better. Those phrases are:
Thank you; and
I love you
Such simple words but how hard can they sometimes be to say? And how much better do the recipients of our feelings and we ourselves feel and act when we share true gratitude or love with them?
‘I love you’ will be the subject of a future blog – and there will no doubt be more about gratitude in the near future as well. These topics have a huge influence on every part of our lives. These positive effects are, in some ways, only starting to be studied and understood.
Say it – don’t hold back
At the first seminar presented by Dr John Hinwood I attended several years ago, everyone in the audience was given a package of lovely cards. We were asked to write a thank-you note to 3 people – even if those people were no longer around to receive our letter.
I addressed one of those cards to someone in my family who I had thought of as an enemy and had long been estranged from. I had loved this person deeply when I was young but they had done some things which I felt were unforgiveable. By the time of Dr Hinwood’s seminar, the recipient of my card had been dead for several years so of course, I couldn’t send it to them. Just the act of thanking them however – of remembering all the good things they had done and forgiving those that were not so good, made me feel a lot better about our relationship. It literally changed my day and my outlook in a very positive way.
The simple act of thanking someone, of showing gratitude and respect, helps to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing.
The evidence shows…
In the Journal, Clinical Psychology Review, Drs Wood et al found that:
“Gratitude is strongly related to well-being, however defined, and this link may be unique and causal. Interventions to clinically increase gratitude are critically reviewed, and concluded to be promising…”[i]
So gratitude – being thankful to others and aware of our many gifts – can have tangible, measurable and positive effects on our lives and on the lives of those around us.
From the simple thanks we give when someone holds a door for us or does a good job serving us at a restaurant to the heartfelt thanks we offer up for the safety of our loved ones or the beauty of a sunrise over the ocean, every time we make our gratitude known to ourselves or to others, we improve our lives and the world around us.
We suggest you think about it today and as often as you can into the future. Actually, do more than just think about it – thank the people around you often, with genuine thought and with a broad and loving smile on your face. Watch the effects of this simple and effortless action on both of you.
In closing, I would like to say – thank you so much for reading this blog! I am truly grateful for your interest.
For the Stress to Strength team
[i] Wood, A. M., et al., Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration, Clinical Psychology Review