(Expressing) Gratitude: Science of Happiness.

This video. Is. The best. Cute guy in a lab-coat, a scientific study, and some adorable people who have to do something lovely: The presenter asks them to write a letter about their gratitude for a special someone…and then he asks them to share it with that person on the spot. Watch it, it’s touching.

Basically what this video tells us is that feeling gratitude is wonderful, and really good for you….But expressing gratitude? That’s even better.

It’s such a wonderful way to share happiness and to connect with the people you care about on a deeper emotional level. My favorite thing about this video is how everyone is slightly embarassed over the fact they have to actually share it with the people are being super-thankful for.

Somehow, even when we feel very positive about someone, even when someone has touched our life in such an amazing way, we feel a little awkward about opening up about it. We hesitate over being so honest and vulnerable with them. Intuitively, we know that having someone tell you that they are grateful for you can pretty much only be a positive experience, but it still feels a little uncomfortable.

But it’s worth it.

So, to start off this week positive for yourself AND for someone else, I am asking you to do what they did in the video. Think of someone who has radically changed you or your life for the better. Write down who they are, what they did for you and why you are so grateful for them.

Then…Share. If you can, let this person know how you feel. Send them the letter. Send them the letter as an e-mail, FB Private message, text message. Give it to them in person.Tell them in person even, if you’re super hardcore and into emotional moments.

A bigger challenge for most of us, if you are willing to get out of your comfort-zone: Call this person. Pick up the phone and share your ‘thank you’ with like, actual spoken words, actually using your voice. Most of us do everything through text and e-mail (I HATE talking on the phone*) and as you can see in the video, telling someone over the phone can be pretty powerful too.

Which is why I am actually going to do it. Leading by example and what not.

For this particular gratitude-outpouring I’m going to call my aunt. She is my mother’s youngest sister, and she is an absolutely amazing person. Ever since I was a kid we’ve been close. When I was a baby, she babysat. When I was a kid, I slept over at her place and we would go do fun stuff. Now that I’m an adult (formally), I still sleep over sometimes and we cook together, drink wine and talk about life. She gets me, she loves me. She is always there for me. She is so good for the people she loves, so considerate and so caring. She is super independent, she loves beautiful things and good food and she is just so funny and sweet. Next to my parents, she has always been one of my most important role models in life* and she has had an amazing influence of who I am. And OH MY GOD I SO DON’T WANT TO CALL HER BECAUSE I AM GOING TO CRY BECAUSE I AM ALREADY CRYING OK BYE.

But seriously, go forth and shareth thou gratitude. Let me know how it goes.

*The only people I like talking on the phone to are my parents and one of my old coworkers. If you are not these people, don’t call me. Text it. 

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13 comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this! I just sent an email to someone who really inspired me to thank him. I cried for a bit, but I feel quite happy now 🙂 So I think it works!

  2. Ha, I’d die of embarrassment, if I did that!
    I tend to thank people in my head. I guess we should try expressing more gratitude outwardly.
    It’s a nice idea, thanks for sharing the video!

    (Wouldn’t use a phone though, I always find phone talks awkward. I can’t see their faces XD )

  3. I so agree with you on this though, saying thanks in real-life or the phone is scaaary, so I tend to write. A while ago I send a pm on linkedin (I know, kind of lame, but seeing the platform appropriate) on linkedin thanking a former professor for his course. This was part of his reply ‘Your letter made my day. It was very thoughtful of you to write. I’m now even more excited to teach the course to the next group of students again’. And that made my day!

  4. Thanks for sharing – the video brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m going to do this for my sister. Just through a letter. With what she has gone through, I think the written word sometimes speaks volumes to her. Hopefully it will let her know that I am here for her, no matter what.

  5. This made me cry like a baby.

    “Trust me, I’m in a labcoat” – this, on the other hand, made me laugh out loud.

    Awesome post, and very true, but so, so scary.

  6. Wat mooi! En ik zou mijn dankbaarheid juist liever niet schrijvend uiten, want dan kom je die persoon later tegen (je weet niet wanneer) en dan word je er natuurlijk op aangesproken (of niet, al helemaal ongemakkelijk). Hmm nope, dan zeg ik het liever meteen face to face (of eventueel telefonisch) op een moment dat ik ervoor kies. Het is best lastig, maar ik heb het een paar keer gedaan en zou het veel vaker moeten doen!