William Arthur Ward once said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” To me, the latter is pointless, and therefore, so is the prior. When thankful, say, “thank you.” It’s a simple thing with a tremendous impact.
Being gracious, saying thank you, expressing love or joy or happiness – all of these things only have the opportunity to make you, the deliverer, and the other person, the recipient, better. I’ve never quite understood ungrateful people – ungratefulness, I believe, stems from ignorance. Even more than those who choose to be ungrateful or ignorant, I have a lack of understanding for being thankful and grateful for someone and rarely or never telling them. How are they ever supposed to know the impact that they’re having? How can they know that they are making your world a better place or doing that for others they are around? Perhaps, it’s just in their nature to know what they’re doing is good, but why the hell not just recognize it?
Say thank you to the team of staff members you have who work 8+ hours a day for you or alongside you. Tell the friend who picks you up and always drives (because you hate city traffic) that you appreciate them taking over the wheel and the patience that comes with being behind it all the time. Tell your sibling who invites you over for dinner when you’d be eating at home alone otherwise that you are grateful for the meal and the company. Share with the friend that calls you just because that it made your day to be able to catch up. Don’t just have the conversation and hang up without expressing what you feel. Tell the folks that greet you at the front desk every day that you love their happiness. Let the person who you spend the most time with how much you enjoy them and their goodness.
Lack of expression is not only imprudent, it’s also unhealthy.
Really, it’s not good for you.
Gratitude, and expressing it, is good for your health. Here’s proof from HappierHuman.com:
Gratitude increases sleep quality, reduces the time required to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration. Said differently, gratitude can help with insomnia. It makes you more likely to exercise. In an 11-week study of 96 Americans, people who were instructed to keep a weekly gratitude journal exercised 40 minutes more per week than the control group. Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. (Elle Woods told us that in Legally Blonde, so this is something you should already know.) Experiencing gratitude in the present makes us more likely to remember positive memories and actually transforms some of our neutral or even negative memories into positive ones.
So just say it. Say, “Thanks.” Say, “I appreciate you.” Say, “You are good at life.” It takes ten seconds. It makes a difference, and a pretty righteous one at that.