The importance of saying ‘Thank you’ and why gratitude matters

July 29, 2021
man sitting in field holding thanks
end of life planning
anticipate life
supporting others
Author:
Bernadette Fulton

Why showing your appreciation matters

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. - Cicero, Roman orator

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it, but do we always take the time and make the effort when we should to express our gratitude? To show our appreciation to those around us for what they do for us or for others? In the daily rush of our busy lives, it can be hard sometimes to remember to say “thank you”.

All of us want, and need, to feel appreciated. We are all familiar with the maxim of ‘do to others as you would like them to do to you’. So maybe we should be asking ourselves, “Do I pay enough attention to letting people know how much they mean to me?”

From early childhood we are all taught the simple good manners of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. But are we are as good at thanking as we are at asking?

Gratitude is the simplest and most effective way of recognising another person’s value. Practising being grateful and saying thank you regularly every day will have a positive effect on you and those around you.

With increasing demands and stress, the workplace is becoming a hard place to foster and cultivate wellbeing. Research has shown that many employees value kindness over money in the workplace and place great store in having a supportive workplace culture.

There can also be health benefits which can result from embracing gratitude. Some research suggests that people who are generally more grateful in life, by taking a moment to think about the things they are thankful for, have better health outcomes in some areas, have more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.

Other good reasons why kindness and gratitude are important

Kindness encourages appreciation

Showing kindness and gratitude to someone promotes better interpersonal relationships and encourages loyalty and respect.

Gratitude enhances self-esteem

When gratitude is part of our daily outlook on life, we are likely to feel more optimistic and more welcoming to face and deal with new challenges.

Self-esteem improves personal confidence

Many of us may have excellent skills and competencies, but are lacking in confidence. And this can hold us back at work and in our social relationships. If you practise being more grateful and kinder you will probably gain in self-confidence.

Gratitude is often associated with optimism. Research has shown that grateful people tend to be happier, less stressed and depressed. And they also enjoy a more supportive social environment.

Other ways of showing your appreciation

What else can we do when someone has gone to special trouble for us or who has really helped us in some way? Dr David Hamilton believes we are genetically wired to be kind.

Sending a card with a note of thanks is a warm and personal way of showing your gratitude. A thoughtful gift, flowers or a cheerful house plant is always well received. And giving back to someone by doing a good deed or favour in return can show our gratitude more than any words can.

Show how much you appreciate your loved ones by asking about their end of life wishes. So you know what they want you to do when the time comes.

Let’s make some time to reflect on all the people who have helped and supported us over the past months or year. And make sure we let them know how much they are appreciated.

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. - Scott Adams, Dilbert Comics