Washington: Writing a ‘thank you’ note is more powerful than you may realise, according to a new study.
A new research by The University of Texas at Austin stated that writing letters of gratitude is a pro-social experience people should commit to more often. The gesture improves well-being for not only letter writers but recipients as well.
The research, conducted by Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley asked 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, letter writers overestimated how awkward recipients would feel about the gesture and underestimated how surprised and positive recipients would feel.
“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 or not,” said Kumar.
He further said that anxiety about what to say or fear of their gesture being misinterpreted causes many people to shy away from expressing genuine gratitude.
The significance of the research and its results is that thank-you notes and letters of gratitude should be written and sent more often.
“What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones and sincere ones,” said Kumar. “It comes at little cost, but the benefits are larger than people expect.”
The full findings are present in the journal- Psychological Science.