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Thank Your Way to a Happier Life

Thank Your Way to a Happier Life

Do you remember the last time you said, “Thank you”?

You may say, “Oh, I just did so a few minutes ago! Someone held the elevator door for me.” Or, “I thanked my colleague who lent me her stapler when I needed it.”

But no, I am not referring to the murmurs you say when someone does you small favors.

I meant the big, proud “thank yous” depicting gratitude so great you find it odd that an expression of appreciation can be contained in just two syllables.

Get a pen and a piece of paper. Fill it with the names of persons whom you think needs to hear a “thank you” from you.

Give yourself five minutes to do this. Really think things through.


Do you notice the “buts” and “althoughs” that you had at the back of your mind when you were writing these names?

Do you say: “I am grateful for the friends I have at work, BUT I hope they can be more supportive of my endeavors.”

Do you say: “Thank you, _______, for visiting me when I was sick, ALTHOUGH your mind was clearly some place else.”

Now, try to make a list of things about yourself that fill you with gratitude.

Do you notice some familiar words?

“I am grateful that I am physically healthy,” you say, “ALTHOUGH I have yet to rid of my love handles.”

“I have a loving family,” you say, “BUT we argue sometimes.”

The nasty “buts” and “althoughs” always show up.

The tendency to include these words in conversations will be difficult to resist. Somehow, since our childhood, fault-finding has been hardwired in our brains.

We used to take examinations that instructed us to “find the odd one out,” or to “cross out” the grammatical errors in a sentence. We were taught to avoid committing mistakes and to aim only for perfection.

Later in life, this has been all we do: to find something wrong, no matter how little, in an otherwise great thing.

Learn to recognize these words when you start to use them. Slowly, try to change them with their distant cousins “despite” and “even if,” and see what a world of difference this can make.

So, what are you thankful for?


Life tip: Upsize your gratitude and positive vibes by making it a habit to write at least three things you are thankful for the day regardless of whatever it is. Remember the goal is not to show off or sound good but to be real and sincere.

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