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Just Saying “Thank You” May Help Ward Off Depression


A new study found merely saying “thank you,” the most fundamental act of courtesy, can generate gratitude and enable people to share their feelings with others. These benefits can help ward off depression.

Scientists from the universities of Houston, Texas and Pennsylvania State, along with the Michael E DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center conducted a personality survey involving 352 adults ranging in age from 18 to 58. The questions were designed to assess feelings of gratitude and depression, as well as evaluate the ability to deal with stress and interact with others.

Expressing Gratitude Reduced Negativity

The results showed being thankful correlated with the capacity to note the positives in a troublesome situation. Moreover, they revealed depression is more common in people who have difficulty in sharing their emotions, a construct called ambivalent emotional expression (AEE). The conclusion was that simply saying “thank you” enabled AEE sufferers to open up to others, which led to a reduction in negative thoughts.

“Express(ing) gratitude for small acts of kindness could be impactful to their physical and mental health,” the authors wrote in the report. “In responding appreciatively and with kindness, gratitude offers the ability to reappraise a situation in a more positive light, which may then be associated with lower depressive symptoms.”

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“People with AEE experience conflict between wanting to express emotions and a fear of the consequences from such displays,” Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen, Chair of the Psychology Department at Delaware Valley University, explains to Live in the Now. “Expressing gratitude can help them feel more connected to others, which may offer protection against feelings of depression.”

Earlier Research Shows Benefits of Gratitude

The current study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, builds on the body of research linking an array of positive effects to thankfulness. “Other studies have shown that expressing gratitude can help build friendships, resulting in a stronger social support network,” added Buskirk-Cohen. “It’s also associated with mental health benefits such as enhanced coping skills, boosts in self-esteem and lowered symptoms of anxiety. In addition, it is tied to increased physical health, manifesting in better quality sleep and less aches and pains. Taken all together, you could say that gratitude leads to an overall improvement in well-being.”

Never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.” This magic phrase is a grace to those who speak it as well as to its intended hearers.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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