By Tim Herrera
Republished by the NY Times. View the article at the NY Times website here.
A few years ago The New York Times ran a story that said expressing gratitude — even if you’re faking it — can measurably improve your overall happiness and life satisfaction, and it can sometimes even improve the happiness of those around you. Imagine!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because in March I encouraged you to knock off the one thing from your to-do list that has been hanging over your head.
Hundreds of readers wrote me emails and tweets sharing the one thing they accomplished, and a few themes emerged: taxes (of course), job and career stuff, financial tasks, some house cleaning and other parts of everyday life.
But I was surprised at how many people said they were moved to express gratitude to people in their lives.
Sometimes it was for a specific purpose, like the dozens of readers who finally finished writing holiday thank you notes. But often it was to say thanks for ongoing support or for just being there — like the reader who was inspired to write a friend who had faded from her life, or the reader who got the push she needed to send a note of thanks for a friend’s support after a parent’s death.
The overwhelming feeling that people said they came away with was this: Expressing long-overdue gratitude had a meaningful, positive impact for both sender and receiver.