This simple act makes people feel great

This simple act makes people feel great

Why is it when someone thanks us we are often inclined to be just at grateful to them? Is it because we’re so starved for gratitude we’re overwhelmed when we actually receive it? Perhaps the feeding of our ego motivates us to encourage others to keep feeding us thanks.

Ego and narcissism aside, there’s an actual reason being thanked feels so good: science.

Recent research out of the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found when you are thanked for something it releases a naturally occurring chemical in your body called Oxytocin. This chemical encourages feelings of trust, loyalty and gratitude, to name a few. But most interestingly, what researches discovered is a particular gene known as CD38—a key regulator of oxytocin release is present when giving and receiving thanks and not present when sharing personal positive events.

What does this mean?

It means when you say thank you or receive thanks it is an accurate and predictable way to make someone and yourself feel good. In fact in the study, participants reported heightened feelings of peacefulness, amusement and pride in themselves. They perceived the person who gave them the thanks and being more understanding, validating, caring and more responsive.

Even further, it encouraged the recipient of the thanks to then thank the giver for something they had done earlier on another day. Most importantly, it made each person feel more satisfied with the overall quality of the relationship.

Not bad results for letting someone know you’re thankful for something they’ve done.

Now go tell someone thank you

Make an effort this week to say thank you to someone. Start with someone close to you, a family member, loved one or close friend. Tell them you want to say thank you and for what.

From there, consider reaching out to someone you work with or is a member of your community. Figure out a way to say thank you to them, it could be a phone call, over a cup of coffee or making an effort to take them aside next time you’re at a gathering together to let them know what you’re thankful for and how it’s positively affected you.

Finally, get yourself a thank you card and write a note to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Check out How to the Write a Thank You Note post and then drop it in the mail. Make a serious effort to do this, write a note to yourself and put it somewhere you’ll see it with a deadline to accomplish this and watch your mood and your recipient’s moods soar.

Photo by Steven Depolo

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