back arrowMind Over Stress

Can a "Thank You" Note Enhance Emotional Wellbeing?

Episode description

Show Notes: Episode 13, "Mind Over Stress" Show.

Can a "Thank You" Note Ehance Emotional Wellbeing?

In this episode, you’ll discover why taking just two or three minutes to write a short note of appreciation can create positive feelings of self-worth for the person receiving the message AND for the person writing the message. That would be you!

This is your host for the “Mind Over Stress” show, Steve Carter. I am also the CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC. More information about my work through Stress Solutions, LLC is available at

So what does the science tell us about writing “Thank You” notes? Is it worth doing? Is it difficult? Who benefits?

What stops you from writing notes of appreciation? Does it feel awkward? Are you afraid you won’t know what to write? Are you concerned the recipient won’t really appreciate receiving that kind of message?

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Chicago published the results of their research into "Thank You" note writing in the journal, “Psychological Science”. They asked participants to write a letter of gratitude to someone who had done something special or nice for them. After writing the message, participants were asked to anticipate how recipients would react.

What were the results? Letter writers overestimated how awkward recipients would feel. They underestimated how surprised and pleased recipients would feel.

Lead author, Dr. Amit Kumar, assistant professor in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, said,

“We looked at what’s correlating with people’s likelihood of expressing gratitude - what drives those choices - and what we found is that predictions or expectations of that awkwardness, that anticipation of how a recipient would feel - those are the things that matter when people are deciding whether to express gratitude.”

He added anxiety about what to say and fear that recipients would misinterpret the intent, stopped many people from expressing gratitude to others. 

He continued, 

“What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones and sincere. It comes at little cost but the benefits are larger than people expect.”

Think back to a time you received a note from someone expressing appreciation for a gift or something you did. How did you feel? What did you think about the person who wrote the note?

Here’s a template you can use to craft a short “Thank You” note:

First, think about the act of kindness. Allow yourself to really feel gratitude.

Use a simple, straightforward opening such as,

“Thank you for…”
“It was wonderful of you to…”
“I really appreciate you taking time and effort to…”

Add one to three sentences briefly describing the action, gift, or kindness. 

Close the body of your message with one or two sentences describing how the action, gift, or kindness affected you, such as,

“The flowers are beautiful! I feel so warm and loved every time I look at them!”
“I feel blessed to have you as a friend!”
“You really are a Knight in Shinning Armor! Your kindness is very much appreciated.”

End with an appropriate close such as,

“With heart-felt appreciation,”
“Blessings in abundance,”

Or other close appropriate to the person and your relationship with that person.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and write a Thank You note to someone who showed you kindness. You’ll boost their self-esteem and you will feel really, really good about acknowledging that kindness. 

To paraphrase the old joke about voting in Chicago, “Write early, and write often”. Your short notes of appreciation will go a long way to helping create a kinder, happier world one person at a time.

You’ll find the study I discussed in this episode in the episode show notes and as part of a blogpost at

To hear other “Mind Over Stress” podcasts and to subscribe so you never miss an episode, visit us at

Until our next visit, this is your host Stephen Carter asking you to please…

Be kind… Be well… and, Be blessed

Source: “Writing a “Thank You” Note is More Powerful Than We Realize, Study Shows”

More information: Amit Kumar et al, Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation, Psychological Science (2018). DOI: 10.1177/0956797618772506
Journal information: Psychological Science 

episodes iconMore Episodes

3 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life for Simplify Your Life Week

August 6th, 2019

“3 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life” Show Notes

“Simplify Your Life Week” is celebrated for one week every August. In support of this celebration, in this “3 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life”, episode we look at three ways …

How to Escape the Multitasking Trap

July 5th, 2019

How to Escape the Multitasking Trap - 3 Simple Steps to Release Stress and Improve Performance

How often do you get caught up in the hectic swirl of …

Fall Asleep Fast With This Special Breathing Pattern

April 9th, 2019

Show Notes:
You learn how to use the simple 4-7-8 breathing pattern to help you fall asleep fast. This breath pattern can also be used anytime to create the relaxation response and calm mind and body to reduce stress.

How to Apply Sensual Loving Touch for Emotional Well-being

November 14th, 2018

In this, "Mind Over Stress" Episode, you'll experience a gentle self-care method called, Loving Touch.

Loving Touch uses fingertips to stroke sensitive areas of your hands with soothing, gentle movements. You can also …

Pain Relief With Easy Mindful Awareness Plus a Guided Meditation

September 18th, 2018

Show Notes: Pain Reduction With Mindful Awareness

In this episode of Mind Over Stress, you learn about two important research studies establishing the …

Good Stress, Bad Stress, and No Stress With Mindful Breathing

August 13th, 2018

In this episode of "Mind Over Stress", we answer the question, "Is there such a thing as good stress?". We then look at what creates "bad stress" and why its important to discover the key distinctions between good and …

Mind Over Stress - Preview Episode

April 4th, 2018

The Mind Over Stress Show will give you the tools, techniques, and mindset to create optimum wellbeing. Some episodes will include interviews with …

Loading ...

Download the RadioPublic app for
 FREE and never miss an episode.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store