Riddle: What is the best five-dollar present you can buy for yourself but would be inappropriate to give as a gift to someone else? I’ll give you the answer in a few paragraphs.

How often do you get a hand written letter or even a hand written note? For most people postal mail has become just commercial mail. Something handwritten typically comes just a few times a year. When it does, it gets a Wow reaction.

I know when I receive a birthday card or holiday card, I think how nice, display it for perhaps a week, and then it goes in the circular file. But a handwritten note or a custom card has a hundred times the impact and is a keeper.

Remember what it is like to be a kid. You didn't get mail—or if you did, it is from an organization selling something. It seems like everyone is criticizing you and you are at the bottom of the pecking order. Imagine one day you receive a hand written letter from grandmother unconditionally telling you how much she loves you, thinks about you, and is proud of you. How would that impact you?

I see so many people complain that their parents or even their grandparents didn't tell them they loved them. When I see people at nursing homes, I often talk with them about how much power and influence they have. They are often surprised. Many are grandparents or even great grandparents. They have plenty of time. If great grandmother can’t physically write, she can have someone write her words for her. All she has to do is write a letter or send a card with a personal message to have enormous impact on her children.

The answer to my riddle is—a box of thank you cards. I’m not talking about obligatory thank you cards for presents, wedding, funerals, etc. How many unprompted thank you cards do you receive a month? How do you feel when you receive one? The rarity of unprompted thank you cards gives them huge impact.

If you are looking for a good New Year’s resolution consider making it sending an unprompted thank you card every week—or if you are really ambitious, every day.

What do unprompted thank you notes have to do with being more youthful and living longer? Gratitude and sense of purpose are key traits of happy, healthy people. What goes around comes around, and expressing heartfelt gratitude will bounce back again and again.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include: Defy Aging, 52 Baby Steps to grow young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit www.NotAging.com for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips.

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