When was the last time you sent someone a handwritten thank you note via snail mail?
With the advent of the internet and our increasing online presence, handwritten thank-yous have practically become obsolete, which is a dire shame.
Handwritten expressions of gratitude have the power to increase connection and joy, decrease depression, and make you stand out in a very competitive business world!
I hope this post will help revive this beautiful life-giving habit of sending a thank you note that the world needs now more than ever.
Why A Handwritten Thank You Note Matters?
One of my mother’s greatest parenting wins was teaching my sister and me how to cultivate gratitude. Anytime anyone would gift us something or do something kind for us (no matter how small the gesture), she would have us write them a thank you card.
She insisted that we make the cards ourselves and that the messages we wrote inside be thoughtful and personal to the recipient.
No mass-produced Hallmark cards with already printed messages allowed.
What made her requirements so powerful was that they forced us to really engage with the task. Not only was the card personalized to the person and gesture, but when writing the message, we were forced to stop and really think about this person and our relationship with them, in order to make the message as sincere and personal as possible.
To this day, this is one of the greatest gifts my mother has given me because it instilled in me an underlying sense of gratitude which I think is a large reason I have such a positive outlook on life.
When we make expressing gratitude a habit, we become more acutely aware of the blessings that come our way, large or small, and the result is a much more joyful life.
It’s not lost on me when the DMV officer is far more patient with me than he had to be, considering the circumstances. Or when my mailman goes out of his way to make sure my package doesn’t get soaked in the pouring rain. Or when a friend who I know struggles financially still insists on taking me out for dinner to celebrate a win.
5 Reasons To Start Writing A Thank You Note More Often
I define joy as being in a state of complete and utter gratitude. When we are in a state of joy, our hearts are wide open and we feel immense pleasure and happiness. One of the fastest ways to cultivate joy is to focus on the things and people in our lives we are grateful for. Writing a thank you card is an easy and actionable way to do this.
When you’re in the act of writing someone a thank you, your thoughts are focused on whatever kindness was done to you rather than on the myriad of stressful thoughts that regularly occupy your mind, placing you in a state of gratitude which begets joy.
Everybody likes to be appreciated. When you regularly express your appreciation for those you love and those who have been kind and generous with you, you deepen your connection with that person and create greater trust. This leads to greater intimacy and a much more fulfilling relationship.
Gratitude is a natural antidepressant. When we express gratitude, our brain releases serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters responsible for making us happy.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel motivated, and people with low levels of dopamine have greater self-doubt, higher levels of procrastination and far less overall enthusiasm.
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for us feeling important and significant. This is the primary ingredient in most antidepressants, and people who are low in serotonin suffer from loneliness, depression and low self-esteem. When we express gratitude, our brain is flooded with serotonin as a result of not only feeling valued but also recognizing all there is to value in one’s life.
4. It will make you stand out in the business world
Handwritten thank yous are a dying art that few people utilize these days. Take advantage of that. When you apply for a job or a promotion, take the time to write your interviewer a note of appreciation. Your note will make you stand out of the sea of applicants and will show class, courtesy, integrity, and kindness – all qualities that are sought after in the business world.
5. It will increase the recipient’s wellbeing
We all know how good it feels to be seen and appreciated. Receiving a sincere handwritten thank you not only increases the writer’s joy, but it also increases the recipient’s wellbeing. In a world filled with discouraging news and tragic events, give someone a lift of spirits by letting them know how much you appreciate them.
Your Turn to Send a Thank You Note
I challenge you to think of someone who has done you a kindness. Or someone who you admire. Or someone who has left an indelible mark on your life.
Could be anyone: Your mother. Your brother. The mailman/mailwoman. A client. Your boss. One of your children. Your spouse. A friend. Your local coffee barista. An old colleague. A high school teacher. A college professor.
Take a minute to really think about what this person has added to your life.
Maybe you learned an important lesson from them. Maybe they were generous with their time/love/money. Maybe they ensure that you receive your mail every single day and that’s valuable to you. Maybe their presence in this world brings you comfort and joy. Maybe they put up with an awful lot from you and still love you and treat you kindly.
Maybe they birthed you and gave you life. Maybe they helped you grow and evolve as a person. Maybe they cracked open your heart. Maybe they picked up your kids from school so you could go to an important appointment. Maybe they took care of your dog while you were away. Maybe they showed up for you at a really difficult time and were a true friend. Maybe you just appreciate their goodness.
The only thing I ask is that you not rush the letter. Take your time and really write from the heart. Make sure your message is hand-written on paper of any kind, and then pop it in the mail.
There is no shortage of things to be grateful for and there is no shortage of people to thank.
So who will you send a thank you note today?