As soon as children can speak, parents begin to teach them the words and phrases they will need in life.
In all cultures, the words thank you are among the first words a toddler will learn. My mother was the same. She raised my two sisters and me to be polite when asking for anything and to always say “Thank you.”
As I smiled up at her, eyes shining, accepting a cookie and saying, “Thanks, Mom,” I could not have known how the power of gratitude would ultimately transform my life.
It wasn’t easy for my mother at that time.
My father died when we were small children, leaving her a young widow. She raised us to love God and know that we were divinely protected, even though her own faith in the church was rocked by the tragedies and stress in her life.
Despite family challenges, she made sure we received solid educations. I was fortunate to land a job just after college with IBM, and today I work as an account executive selling software for a leading education services company.
As much as I love this career path, I always felt there was more I had to give to the world—something big, but I didn’t know what. An idea came to me. I saw the phrase “a thank you a day” in my mind.
I knew I was being called to take action, so I started to write a thank-you note a day and sent it to anyone who had helped me. I kept doing this each morning, and before long, I found that this simple practice changed my life completely.
I became so much more joyful, healthier, and less stressed than I’d ever been.
Soon after I started sending the notes, I began to notice daily blessings such as a parking spot appearing out of nowhere or making a new client connection.
Now I am more mindful as I go about my daily life, always looking for the good in other people because I want to find a recipient for my next note. This person could appear as a helpful clerk at a hotel or the plumber who took extra time to fix an additional problem I didn’t know about.
Once I realized the transformational power of writing and sharing gratitude notes, I became inspired to tell the world. I wrote Spread Thanks! Create Miracles Through the Power of Ink and began teaching workshops.
Among other things, I share these three simple steps:
- Be mindful and look for goodness.
- Send a small note to the person who helped you or enriched your day.
- Watch for more goodness to come your way in the form of daily miracles of all kinds.
Almost every single day, I receive a message from someone whose life is being changed by this practice. I’ve heard from kindergartners and retirees and every age in between. I’m thrilled that people are catching on to the transformative power of gratitude. They tell me it raises their energy level and improves their whole day! Spreading thanks changes all of us at our core.
Blessings abound when you look for them every day. Start each day with your eyes and heart open wide, thinking about who is going to help you. Say “Thank you” by sending out cards, then watch your daily miracles appear.
This article appeared in Daily Word® magazine.