I learnt how to be grateful every day, and remembering a school lesson showed me how saying “please” and “thank you” helps me practice daily gratitude.

When I was a wee boy my junior school teacher once said to her unruly class of Scottish tearaways, “Manners maketh man.” I then spent the next couple of days being excessively polite: opening as many doors as possible, trying to walk on the road side of any girl I was with, and saying please and thank you as much as possible. I thought that good manners were instantly going to turn me into a man. At the age of 6. Obviously I soon got bored and returned to my usual self: climbing trees, not wanting to go to bed, reading with a torch in bed – standard behaviour for a six year old.

The expression stuck with me, though and I remembered it this morning as I was thinking about everything I have to be grateful for. Yes I do that. Because I am grateful for saying “please” and “thank you” throughout the day.

Saying “please” and “thank you” makes you grateful

We ask throughout the day every day. Skinny milk, fries with that, when’s the next train? Anything you ask for accompanied by a genuine “please” helps you empathise with the person you’re asking. Empathising is great – it gets you out of your head, helps you see things from the perspective of others, and builds relationships.

And when you get what you want “thank you” is a source of gratitude. Be grateful that you’ve been given what you asked for – particularly if its given to you with a smile, because now there is a connection.

Gratitude makes you happy

Here’s some science. Feeling gratitude releases the ‘happiness hormones’, notably endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. These help combat any negative feelings you might be experiencing.

Simply acknowledging throughout the day that there are so many things to be grateful for helps to increase your happiness.  You’re getting out of your head and taking pleasure in even the smallest things.

So, saying “please” and “thank you” throughout the day gives you multiple opportunities to experience gratitude.

A Daily Gratitude Ritual makes you even happier

If feeling gratitude throughout the day makes you feel happier, why not start the day strong by practising gratitude?

Along with the other things I do to prime my day I have a gratitude ritual. As I sip my morning coffee I think about and write down the answers to this question:

Today I am grateful for?

It’s a daily ritual I never miss.

Have a great day and, don’t forget your please and thank yous.