Women’s Health News

Parents (USA) - - Contents -

The ben­e­fit of thank-you cards, why you should eat din­ner early, plus naps!

The presents have been opened and maybe even put away. Now it’s time for thank-you notes! Ex­press­ing grat­i­tude is good for your health (piles of re­search say so), and your ap­pre­ci­a­tion can have a greater im­pact on the re­cip­i­ent than you re­al­ize, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study at The Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Austin. When re­searchers asked par­tic­i­pants to write a heart­felt thank-you note, most of the thankers un­der­es­ti­mated how de­lighted the re­cip­i­ents would feel and over­es­ti­mated the awk­ward­ness that would en­sue. Dig deep with th­ese ex­pert tips.

1 Be spe­cific. “De­tails are gold,” says A. J. Ja­cobs, au­thor of Thanks a Thou­sand: A Grat­i­tude Jour­ney. “Talk about what you like about the gift, when or how you plan to use it, and how it makes you feel.” Say some­thing like, “Thank you so much for the gor­geous ear­rings! I wore them last night and felt like the best-dressed per­son at the party. I re­ceived no fewer than three com­pli­ments on the color.”

2 Ac­knowl­edge why the giver chose it. Con­sider the rea­son she picked the gift, and write about that. For

ex­am­ple, just a few sec­onds of think­ing may help you re­al­ize that your mother-in­law chose seashell ear­rings be­cause you told her you of­ten rem­i­nisce about your hon­ey­moon in Hawaii. Men­tion how touched you are that she re­mem­bered and how mean­ing­ful her thought­ful­ness is to you.

3 Don’t sweat the gram­mar. The im­por­tant thing is that you ex­press your feel­ings. Although you might worry that every word will be scru­ti­nized, spell­ing and comma place­ment don’t hold a can­dle to gen­uine emo­tion,

says Maryam Ab­dul­lah, PH.D., a de­vel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gist at the Greater Good Sci­ence Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.

4 Type if you like! A thank-you email can be just as pow­er­ful as a hand­writ­ten note; in fact, it’s the method the par­tic­i­pants in the UT Austin study used. But if you feel like go­ing all out with pen and pa­per, there are perks to that too. “A note in the mail sig­nals that you took time and put in ef­fort and that you don’t take the re­la­tion­ship for granted,” says Ja­cobs.

Your thank-you notes don’t need to be pretty to be per­fect.

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