Are you feeling low? Pen a “thank you” note. According to researchers, including one of Indian origin, writing letters of gratitude improves the emotional well being for not only the writers, but also the recipients as well.
The study found that anxiety about what to say or fear of their gesture being misinterpreted caused many people to shy away from expressing genuine gratitude.
“What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones and sincere ones,” said Amit Kumar, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin.
“It comes at little cost, but the benefits are larger than people expect,” he added.
For the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, the team asked the participants — in three different experiments — to write a letter of gratitude to someone who’s done something nice for them and then anticipate the recipient’s reaction.
In each experiment, the writers overestimated how awkward recipients would feel about the gesture and underestimated how surprised and positive recipients would feel.
“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 or not,” Kumar said.
Kumar noted that what is significant about the research and its results is that thank you notes and letters of gratitude should be written and sent more often.