Four sentences that really matter


Much like Cinderella I was partially raised by an evil stepmother. This woman did terrible things to me. For example she forbid me from drinking soda and insisted I drink sparkling water instead. She considered rice cakes to be a very important food group and banished chips from the house. When I angered her, she would make me sit on an oriental rug for minutes at a time thinking about what I'd done. She also insisted I write a thank you note for every single gift I ever got, which at the time was a monumentally annoying task that seemed to take the good old fashioned fun and spontaneity out of gift receiving.

Well I still hate rice cakes and oriental rugs, but the thank you note writing habit has stuck and I'm grateful for it (maybe I should write her a note!). Since then tons of research has come out on why being grateful makes us healthier, happier, better connected people.  Also savoring what we have instead of just lusting after the next thing is a very good habit to get into. And if you act gratefully now we’ll throw in some extra brain health according to this article in the good ole' New York Times.

Now I'm not totally against thank you emails, texts or other forms of electronic gratitude and I use them from time to time (see below). I just don't think they are as satisfying or impactful for either party involved, though I'm sure Miss Manners would say they are better then no thank you at all. I get it, buying stamps, figuring out addresses and licking envelopes is an extra step. I just happen to think the physicality of a paper note triples its impact and you get to use glitter pens if you like.

Thank you notes insist that you remember who gave you what, think about why you liked it and how it's making your life better, stop to ponder what might be going on in the giver’s life and then wish them well with the aforementioned life. That's it. Just four sentences and you are on your way to gratitude nirvana. I always feel better after sending a few thank you notes. There's no reason to wait for people to send you gifts either. Why not send cards to people who have taught you things, supported you, showed up for you and helped you clean up some of life's unfortunate messes?

Imagine them finding your sweet little note hidden between all those demanding bills and annoying junk mail. Finally a piece of mail that only wants to give and doesn't ask anything in return. Maybe they'll open it right away standing near the mailbox in their daily work get-up or perhaps they'll save it for later, like dessert at the end of their long day. Whatever they do your note is bound to bring a smile and a lift to their hearts. And for some reason these little heart lifters always show up just when they're needed most.

Here an example to get you started:

Dearest you,

Thank you so much for reading this post. I know the Internet is full of cat videos and other countless temptations and that you stopped to read my little blog makes my feel so good. I hope you got something useful out of it and are feeling less moody or better able to help another moody piñata. I am so grateful for your readership and hope you come back again soon.

Warm and fuzzy regards,

Heather (The Moody Piñata)

So it's good to be grateful, but it's even better to share our gratitude with others.

Who’s day will you make with a note of gratitude?