Whilst catching the bus in New Zealand over the past week, Nikki can’t help but noticing how polite all the passengers seem to be. Almost everyone yells out ‘Thank you, driver’ as they hop off the back of the bus. It turns out she’s not the only one to notice. In fact, New Zealand has actually been ranked as the world’s friendliest country in an HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey (don’t worry, we come up right behind them as number two).

This got us thinking more about this simple phrase and prompted up to delve into the psychology behind saying thank you. What we discovered is that being grateful is much more than just a sign of good manners. Studies have shown it to:

  • Enhance well-being;
  • Improve physical health;
  • Strengthen social relationships;
  • Produce positive emotional states;
  • Help us cope with stress;
  • Allow others to feel valued;
  • Encourage future reciprocity to ourselves and others;
  • Double the likelihood of repeat help;
  • Increase employee retention;
  • Enhance productivity;
  • Improve product quality;
  • Encourage collaboration;
  • Boost innovation;
  • Drive customer loyalty.

That’s a pretty long list, isn’t it!?  The fascinating thing is the reason why being thanked is so powerful is not because it boosts our self-esteem, it is that being appreciated makes us feel needed and socially valued, especially in a society where accepting help is often perceived as a weakness. So go on then, the next time someone does something worth thanking, just spit it out won’t you?