Women’s Health News
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.