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Don’t Just Feel It, Say It!

by Beth on November 19th, 2014

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

Many of us will be counting our blessings next week as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Thinking about all that we are grateful for improves our well-being. Gratitude has been linked to stronger marriages, improved job performance, greater compassion, optimism, and forgiveness, and lower levels of stress. Keeping a gratitude journal or writing down 3 things you are thankful for each day can help you experience more gratitude.

But don’t stop there! You gain additional benefits when you express your gratitude to others. John Kralik was at a low place in his life when he made a decision on New Year’s Day to write one thank-you note every day over the next year. Writing the notes reminded him of all of the blessings in his life. But it was reconnecting with friends and family through his notes that helped Kralik turn his life around. He writes in his book, 365 Thank Yous, “By appreciating the things we did for each other, we encouraged each other to do more nice things.” His son repaid a loan, he got into shape when one friend suggested he train for a triathlon and another, who had a brain tumor, inspired him by running a marathon, and lawyers and clients who received John’s thanks sent him more cases, which pulled his firm out of a financial crisis.

Unfortunately, it’s easier for most of us to experience feelings than it is to express them. A survey of over 2,000 people found that 49% express gratitude on a daily basis to their spouse or partner, 37% express thanks to their children, 15% express gratitude to their close friends, and only 10% thank their colleagues.

Expressing gratitude can make you feel vulnerable, anxious, or embarrassed, but the rewards can be worth the discomfort. To whom are you grateful? Let the Thanksgiving spirit move you to express your thanks.

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