Say thanks!

By Emily, 24 - 1 Sep 2015

You know how your parents always told you to say "thank you" as a kid? Turns out they weren't just nagging you to be polite! Showing gratitude has so many benefits, whether that gratitude is expressed as a “thanks”, “chur” or “cheers”.

Being grateful can increase positive emotions, make it easier for us to bounce back from the bad things that happen in life and give us a break from worries and feeling down. What’s also pretty amazing is that being grateful can bring physical benefits to our bodies, including better immune system functioning and improved sleep quality! Gratitude also has a number of pro-social benefits; people around you are more likely to express gratitude themselves when they see you doing it! You can read all about the research here if you’re interested.

Gratitude listSaying thanks is all too easy, but there are different activities that we can do to help process our gratitude more deeply and reap its full benefits. You can start by thinking about the things that you’re thankful for (like people, a sunrise, or a pet), and writing these down somewhere like a diary, in your phone's notes or on a sticky note). However you choose to keep your list, remember that to reap the full benefits, it’s really important to think about why you’re grateful for the things you list.

When you’ve built up some confidence, another great thing you can do is to express gratitude to other people. When people do something to help us, no matter how big or small the favour, it's normal to feel that you owe them something in return. Most people will be helping you because they really want to, so instead of getting caught up in how you can pay them back, focus instead on thanking them. You’ll feel good for doing it and the person will know how much you appreciate their help. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Write a thank-you card to someone who has helped you out or does a lot for you (like a good friend or teacher).
  • Say thanks and give a huge smile when people open the door for you - your smile is contagious!
  • Had a great hot chocolate or milkshake somewhere? Thank the person who made it and tell them how great it was.
  • Write a letter to someone who has done a lot to help you, saying how grateful you are for it. Even better, read it out to them over the phone or go visit them!
  • Give a mate, coach, teacher, or family member a text to say cheers for the little things they do for you.

So practising gratitude is pretty easy, eh? Just remember to take notice of how you feel when you express gratitude, and how your gratefulness makes a big difference to other people’s days!

Emily, 24