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Why We Should Say ‘Thank You’ Out Loud

Gratitude beyond the Thanksgiving table.

Saying thank you

“Open my lips, Lord, so my mouth may declare Your praise,” Psalm 51 declares in a verse that is recited before the daily set of Jewish prayers called Amidah. I was always puzzled and intrigued that the prayers began this way because they are often recited either silently or quietly to oneself. Does my mouth actually need to open for me to declare praise of God or anything else, or is my positive thinking effective as an internal activity?

At the Thanksgiving season, this question ponders the very nature of gratitude. Cultivating the proverbial “attitude of gratitude” is an ongoing process—and much of it is done through our internal monologues, or private practices like gratitude journals or lists.

But when we do open our lips, declaring praise and thankfulness for the people, places and things that bless our lives, the positive impact moves so far beyond ourselves. As an example, your mail carrier might not know how much you notice and appreciate how carefully she closes your mailbox to keep out the rain. Hearing your simple words of gratitude might boost her mood and bring more lightness into the long walk of her route. That flush of energy might inspire her to offer a positive word at the end of the day to a coworker who is having a tough time. That coworker might feel supported enough by her kindness to bring a different attitude home with him that night. And on and on and on—all because you opened your lips and said “thank you” out loud.

A tradition around many Thanksgiving tables is to go around and share aloud something each person is particularly grateful for this year. Why not expand this practice beyond the family table and take it out into your daily life—this week and after the official “gratitude season?” 

How do you feel when you open your lips to speak positive words out loud?

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