Showing gratitude is more potent than you think
Arecent study has found that people underestimate the positive feelings that saying thank you can generate.
Carried out by the University of Chicago, researchers conducted three experiments in which participants wrote letters expressing gratitude and then predicted how surprised, happy or awkward the recipients would feel.
Results showed people underestimated how surprised recipients would be, overestimated how awkward they would feel, and underestimated how positive they would feel.
The research also found that expressing gratitude in a handwritten note gave a positive boost to emotions in both the writer and recipient.
‘We looked at what's correlating with people's likelihood of expressing gratitude. What we found is that predictions or expectations of that awkwardness, that anticipation of how a recipient would feel, those are the things that matter when people are deciding whether to express gratitude or not,’ said lead researcher Amit Kumar. ‘What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these. It comes at little cost, but the benefits are larger than people expect.’
Amit hopes that by making people aware of the positive benefits of writing a thank-you note it will inspire others to reach for their pen and paper.
More info A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik is published by Hachette Books.
‘The benefits are larger than people expect’