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Does Sending Thanksgiving Messages Improve Emotional Health?

Grandfather cutting turkey for family on thanksgiving dinner.

There’s no time like Thanksgiving to show the people in your life how grateful you are to know them. Whether it’s members of your immediate family, close friends, colleagues, or neighbors, sending heartfelt Thanksgiving messages can brighten your day and theirs. Yes, that’s right—a simple gesture like a thank-you message can benefit both the sender and receiver. Here, I’ll explain more about how sending Thanksgiving messages can improve both your life and the lives of your loved ones. I also have some great ideas for how you can practice gratitude during the approaching holiday season and beyond.

The Beauty of Thanksgiving Messages

Taking the time to tell someone how much you appreciate their presence in your life is more than merely a sweet gesture. Practicing gratitude, even in small and simple ways, is a major emotional health booster. What can giving thanks do for you today? Let’s explore some of its important benefits:

You’ll Sleep Better

If you’ve ever experienced a bout of insomnia, I don’t need to explain the importance of sleep to you. It’s one of your most basic needs, and it’s impossible to go more than a few days without a decent night of shut-eye. But stress, anxiety, and racing thoughts can keep you awake long past bedtime. Thankfully, practicing gratitude can help you sleep better at night. It’s likely one of the reasons many people say a prayer nightly before hitting the hay.

Young man sleeping in bed at home, having good dreams after writing thanksgiving messages.
It’s One Of Your Most Basic Needs, And It’s Impossible To Go More Than A Few Days Without A Decent Night Of Shut-Eye (Image Source: Shutterstock)

You’ll Experience Fewer Toxic Emotions

Jealousy, guilt, fear of rejection—negative emotions can eat away at your self-worth if you don’t confront them. Being thankful helps you to push that bad energy to the margin or even eliminate them altogether. It makes sense: when you see the glass as half full, you have less energy to spend on toxic thoughts and feelings.

You’ll Feel Happier

Remembering to be grateful can help improve your outlook on life. You’ll feel happier and more optimistic when you devote time to being thankful for what you have. That joy affects every part of your life, from your marriage or romantic relationship to your rapport with office colleagues. Who knew a simple act like practicing gratitude could lead to so many positive changes?

Laura Trice: The Power of Saying Thank You – TED

Express Gratitude to Improve Self-Esteem

But enough about you—what about all the people who come to mind when you think about saying “Thank you”? Your expressions of gratitude will do wonders for them, too. When you tell someone how much you appreciate them, you can help to bolster that person’s confidence. 

It might be difficult to believe, but everyone around you feels just as vulnerable and insecure as you do sometimes. We all worry that people won’t accept, like, or remember us. Sending a Thanksgiving message reminds your best friend or coworker that they’re a meaningful part of someone’s life, and that’s big. (Are you wondering how to improve self-esteem for yourself while you’re at it? Check out this helpful advice.) 

Here are just a few ideas for your Thanksgiving messages of gratitude:

  • Tell a loved one how thankful you are for your strong relationship, knowing that they’ll always be there for you. No matter how often you tell Mom and Dad that you love them, they’ll be happy to hear it one more time. 
  • Tell a neighbor you’re glad to live on the same street and that you love running into them when you’re out and about. If you’ve been meaning to invite them over for dinner, now is the perfect opportunity.
  • Tell your best friend that you love the inside jokes you share and that there’s no one else like them. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and Thanksgiving is a good to remind them of that in a message of gratitude, no matter how long you’ve been buddies. 
  • Tell your colleague or employee that you simply couldn’t do your job to the best of your ability without their talent, skills, and hard work. It will help to strengthen your professional relationship, making you both more effective in your positions.
  • Tell your child’s teacher how grateful you are for their dedication, empathy, and patience. Kids learn so much more in school than reading, writing, and mathematics. Your teacher is the one watching over your child as they learn how to make friends, resolve conflicts, and develop leadership skills. That’s a tall order for one person!

How you deliver your message is up to you. Many people love to receive real handwritten mail, but if that’s not your style, email and text convey your thoughts just as clearly. If there’s someone you’ve been missing recently, give them a call. The sound of your voice will add so much to the delivery of your message. 

There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Choose a method that makes you feel comfortable, as you’ll be your most genuine self when you feel at ease. 

Private Messages of Thanksgiving: Writing in a Gratitude Journal

Now that you’re feeling gratitude 24/7, why not keep the positive momentum going by writing in a daily gratitude journal? While your Thanksgiving messages are important for the people in your life, journaling is just for you.

Woman writing a diary or journal, relaxing at home.
Writing In Your Gratitude Journal Can Help You Feel Happier And More Optimistic (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Keeping a gratitude journal isn’t complicated. For some people, it’s as simple as writing down three to five things they appreciated about their day. Others prefer to use journaling prompts to inspire their entries. Again, you should do what feels right to you, as that will elicit the best journaling.

Like sending messages of appreciation, writing in your gratitude journal can help you feel happier and more optimistic. And, at this time of year, it may have a more practical application, too. If you’ve been wondering what to buy as gifts for the holidays this year, try writing in your journal about your loved ones. Write about why you appreciate those people, and some great ideas for holiday gifts for them may come to you. (Hey, maybe some of them would enjoy gratitude journals of their own!)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, make it a priority to take care of your emotional health and that of those you love. It doesn’t take a heroic effort—just a few well-chosen kind words. The great Maya Angelou said it best: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!