The Beauty of Writing Thank You Notes
Think about the last time you wrote a thank you note. Didn’t you feel great while you were writing it? Me too!
So much positivity! The act of giving thanks is automatically associated with positivity, because we thank people for wonderful things, not for crummy things!
The cool thing about writing thank you notes is that it is one of the simplest ways to boost your mood. It just feels good while you’re writing it – thinking and writing about what someone did for you. The brain cannot distinguish between living an event, and remembering an event. So when you’re simply thinking about what nice thing was done for you, your brain is reacting by releasing those feel good neurotransmitters!
One study found that simply writing one thank you note a week for three weeks significantly elevated mood (measured at the 4 week mark) in college students who sought psychotherapy at a college counseling center, as compared to a group that only participated in counseling. And the really promising finding – the improvement in mood got even better at the 12 week mark. The benefits increased over time, even without writing more thank you notes!!
The researchers took a look at these thank you notes to see why they were so powerful. What they found was the absence of negativity in the notes. When we are focused on giving thanks to someone, there is no room for negativity.
Another interesting finding was that the letters did not even need to be sent!!! This suggests that simply focusing on something positive that someone did for you boosts your mood.
But go ahead and SEND that thank you note! Even though you don’t have to send it to reap the emotional rewards, sending it has added benefits:
- It makes the other person feel good. How wonderful is it to receive a thank you note!!
- It feeds our human need to be social. The deeper our social connections are, the happier we are.
We do this in my Course in Gratitude, and I love hearing the feedback from participants regarding to whom people sent thank you notes, how it made them feel, and what new or deeper connections came out of the process.
Who are YOU going to send a thank you note to today??
Before you go – one more suggestion – save the thank you notes you receive. Then re-read them when you need a quick pick-me-up.