Natural Living: The gift of saying thank you |

Natural Living: The gift of saying thank you

Maureen Lamerdin, O.M.D.

Now that we have survived the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it is a good time to reminisce about all that we are thankful for. This is possibly the most powerful and meaningful gift you could give someone for Christmas and the New Year. While material gifts can feel wonderful and exciting, they are typically short-lived. We often replace material gifts within a year because they become archaic in our fast-paced high-tech world or no longer needed. How can we gift someone a present that lasts a life time? The answer, I believe, is in our words.

There is so much appreciation and gratitude in the words “thank you,” which is what binds our communities together. To give it is to receive it, because to receive it you must first give it. This creates a beautiful synergistic circle. When we engage in this flow of thanks, we feel more supported and will never feel alone again.

We all possess the spirit necessary to fuel this exchange of energy. Even if you’re feeling depressed about what didn’t go right this holiday season or what a family member or friend did that insulted you, turn your attention to what you do appreciate and the people that have been a light in your life. For some, it may be being thankful for the sun rising, or the food they have been given, for others it could be the gratitude that someone showed them or the help they received on a project or homework. It could be a friend who has helped you in a time of loss or has gone out of their way to do something special for you, an employee who has gone above and beyond or a boss who has given you a raise or a bonus. As you can see this is a circle, a gift that keeps giving, never-ending.

When we engage in this circle of gratitude, there are many positive affects for the “thanker” and the “thankee.” The thanker triggers “feel good” hormones, which produce a positive emotional state and an increased sense of well-being. This then reinforces the virtuous cycle in their brain. For the thankee, it triggers higher levels of self-worth and a desire to help others. The thankee then appreciates being needed and feels more socially valued. This has immeasurable effects upon our health.

I encourage each and every one of you to do an experiment this week and gift the power of “thank you” to all those that have been a beacon in your life or have done something special for you or simply helped you in some small way. To do this, there are two simple steps for two simple words.

First write down a list of people that you want to gift “thank you” to. Think about your spouse who may have worked all day or cleaned the house and drove the kids from one place to another. Think about your parents who helped guide you on your path. Consider your team at work, who were able to pull together and overcome an obstacle or a teacher who spent extra time with you or your child to assure great understanding. A friend who simply said some kind words that picked you up in a time of feeling blue.

Second, write a note or text, pick up the phone or meet for tea and give your gift in a heartfelt way. It is simple to just say “thank you,” however when you give the person a detailed description of why you appreciate them or how you are grateful for what they did, it makes it more genuine and fully expresses its worth.

So, let’s all get on the “thank you” train and create boundless gifts that keep on giving and feel your health skyrocket!