Amy Rees Anderson

The “Gratitude Effect”

I woke up this morning to the most amazing surprise.  An email from a total stranger sharing a heartfelt, sincere, yet simple thank you for the positive impact my blog was having on his life.  I was blown away at the impact this man’s simple, kind words had on me.  I was genuinely choked up when I read it.  I don’t know why it had such a profound effect on me, but it did.  His expression of gratitude was amazingly powerful.  It made me feel valued.  It made me feel appreciated.  It made me feel glad that I had pushed through those nights when the last thing I wanted to do was to stay up and write my blog, and it renewed my dedication to continue writing in the future.

A professor at Harvard University, Francesca Gino, did a study highlighting the science of gratitude.  They did several experiments in which two subject groups were given the same assignment, one was given sincere thanks for their efforts and the other was not.  Consistently the results of the study showed that there was anywhere from a 50% to 200% increase in the efforts of the group who received thanks for the efforts they were making.    What a huge impact that comes from a simple expression of gratitude!

““Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too,” Gino said. She described the scope of the “gratitude effect” as “the most surprising part” of her research.”

Another research study shows that it is physiologically impossible for a person to be stressed and grateful at the same time.  When you are grateful your body has a surge of endorphins which uplift and energize you rather than the stress hormones that drain you.

Perhaps that is the reason I was so impacted by this morning’s email.  It made me feel grateful that someone would take the time out of their busy life to tell a total stranger “Thank You” and express appreciation for something I had done.  My entire day was brightened today.  My spirit was touched and my life was changed for the better.   I knew I had to reach back to this stranger and say “Thank You” to him for touching my life as he had.

I come away from today with a renewed focus on the impact I can have on others by just opening my mouth more quickly to say “Thank You”.  I come away from today with the desire to make it more of a daily focus to not let those moments to compliment or thank another pass by me.  I come away from today determined not to let fear, or shyness, or trepidation be an excuse for me not to say “Thank you” to anyone deserving of hearing that.

And so you can see the impact this man had on me not only made me feel better about myself, but it inspired me to try and pay that same feeling forward to those I come in contact with as well.   THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!   To the man who is no longer someone I think of us a stranger, but rather a friend.  And to all of those people in my life who have made my world better for having been a part of it.  THANK YOU!

Have a beautiful, brilliant, marvelous, glorious weekend everyone.




  • Tim says:

    Thank you for this great article! I am going to show gratitude to everyone today and see if I can notice a difference in my day.

    • Sandra says:

      Amy, expressions of gratitude do indeed displace stress. And whether they come from a strange or a friend or a colleague, I find that it gives me enough of a boost to keep going with my own blog, since sometimes it seems that I’m writing to myself. Like you, I make sure I acknowledge every comment and every “thank you,” to let my readers know I appreciate them and their feedback. BTW, I reference your blog in my blog posts ( time to time. Keep up the good work!

  • Carlota says:

    In order to handle stress, you must first ensure yourself that
    you will not shy away from trying different methods.
    Maybe it is as bad as you thought, but you can think clearer to find a solution.
    This got me wondering, then, about someone with a high coronary calcium score who
    has a normal stress test.

  • Wonderful photography!! Loved everyone of them! Very creative and artistic! Bravo! Would love to see more!

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