The power of saying thank you

Therapist Sahera Laing says people should never underestimate the power of gratitude.
Therapist Sahera Laing says people should never underestimate the power of gratitude.

OPINION: Most of us were raised to say thank you when someone gives or does something for us. It's basic rules of engagement, yes? Saying a heartfelt thank you goes beyond good manners, it is a gift to the other person, serving to build and strengthen the relationship.

Gratitude is a powerful feeling. It creates a very positive set of emotions – trust and belonging, confidence and significance.

When a stranger holds the door open for you, or the barista hands you your coffee, or the cashier bags your groceries, those two words express appreciation, respect and creates an important social bond. Someone who has the ability to recognise attentiveness is likely to be a good candidate for friendship. Right?

Thank you is often a completely under-used phrase, yet it's appropriate in almost any situation and any response.

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When someone gives you a compliment, a smile and a thank you is the most gracious response. There is something quite empowering about receiving a compliment, it's a great confidence booster – thank the giver.

When someone offers you assistance or their time, a thank you builds your relationship with them and promotes their help in the future. It's a simple, respectful, loving exchange that builds longevity in a relationship.

I recently worked with a client who arranged a holiday for a distant family member so they can recuperate from a major illness. She did it because she knew the person needed some time to relax and convalesce. She didn't expect anything in return, yet a simple thank you would have solidified the relationship. She's unlikely to repeat the deed, feeling that it wasn't appreciated.

We all have something to offer – a skill, an idea, time, help, a smile, generosity and we are more inclined to keep giving if we receive a thanks. Without that heartfelt gesture, a person feels ignored, neglected, unappreciated and often quite upset. Relationships have been ruined by not expressing our gratitude, and trust broken.

So when someone gives way to you on the road, raise a hand and say thank you. When the waiter brings you your meal, say thank you. When you pick up your coffee at the counter, say thank you. When someone lends a hand or offers you their time, give thanks to complete the exchange.

Most of us love hearing a thanks for the things we do. It doesn't matter if that thing is something we are supposed to be doing. It's still nice to hear.

Being appreciated motivates us. Being unappreciated makes us feel overlooked, insignificant and invisible.

Whether it's said out loud, expressed in an email, written in a note or card, perhaps it's a box of chocolates or some flowers. It builds bonding, brings new friends, solidifies existing relationships and keeps us wanting to keep giving. It's such a powerful thing to do and it costs very little if nothing at all.

Sahera Laing is a clinical hypnotist, NLP practitioner, strategic life coach, trainer and motivational speaker. Find out more at