By Angela Cataldo, Student at Clemson University and BodiMojo Blog Contributor
It comes as no surprise that positivity is attractive. Positive emotions are building blocks for social relationships, and anyone could guess that gratitude is a big one. But is there a right way to show gratitude?
Recent research presented at the International Positive Psychology Association by Sara Algoe of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has shown that putting the “you” in “thank you” is essential for receiving the ultimate benefits of gratitude. People who put the “you” in their “thank you” seem friendlier, more competent, and more likeable. More specifically, this type of “thank you” can result in more tips for those who work as servers and can cause recipients of such gratitude to take note. As for romantic relationships, including the “you” in “thank you” has shown to cause the recipient to feel more satisfied with both their life and their relationship for weeks or months afterwards.
These sentiments are supported by previous research conducted by Jeffrey Froh indicating that gratitude contributes to the desire to give back to the community and can ultimately propel us toward greater emotional and social well-being. So ww can we maximize these benefits? How can we get the most out of “thank you”?
Practice putting the “you” in “thank you”
Here are some examples of how to put the “you” into your “thank you”:
After receiving a gift, instead of saying “I love this sweater!” you could say, “It was so thoughtful of you to get me this sweater!”
Or if you notice your coworker going above and beyond, instead of saying “The project is going great!” you could say, “I appreciate your effort—you are setting a high bar” or “Your work is appreciated. You are really a role model for work ethic!”
By praising the individual, he or she is more likely to feel both validated and loved.
In general, cultivating gratitude has amazing benefits for our mind, body, and soul. Research by Robert Emmons has proven that people who practice gratitude, whether by keeping a gratitude journal or regularly expressing their appreciation to others, experience a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep patterns, more alertness, and a more forgiving disposition. When you put the “you” in “thank you,” not only will you be able to draw high-quality, supportive partners into your social life, you will also be improving your life satisfaction and bringing joy to those around you!
How to Practice Gratitude | BodiMojo
What Can the Brain Reveal about Gratitude? | Greater Good Science Center