People underestimate the power of a “thank you”. When most of us think about writing a thank you note or making a call, we might decide against it. Perhaps we think it won’t mean much to the recipient, or that it will make them feel awkward, or we worry about our ability to find the right words.

But by not offering our gratitude, we’re missing out on some real benefits. It turns out that showing gratitude - saying “thank you” - improves the well-being of both the recipient and the person saying thanks.

Researchers at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business did a series of experiments in which participants wrote letters of gratitude to people who had helped them. The letter writers estimated how the recipients would feel about the letters, and the researchers surveyed the recipients to see if the writers’ expectations were accurate.

You can guess what happened. The letter writers thought the recipients would feel awkward, but it turned out that wasn’t the case. The writers also underestimated how good recipients would feel about receiving the letters. And the recipients were not focused on the exact words that were used or how eloquent the writers were; instead they were thrilled by the gesture. The takeaway? Expressions of gratitude and appreciation make everyone feel good.

At Howard Center, we’ve had a great deal to be grateful for over the past year. And so, in the interest of promoting well-being and spreading good feelings, thank you. Thank you to our many community and business partners and friends who have contributed their time, expertise, and support to our organization this past year. We look forward to working with you in the coming year. Thank you for helping to make our community stronger and “Help is Here” a reality for so many of our neighbors. For whatever you do to help the people we serve, thank you.

And, don’t forget to get out your pen or pick up the phone in the new year!

Howard Center improves the wellbeing of our community by helping people with mental health, substance use, and developmental services. Help is here. 802-488-6000 or howardcenter.org.

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