Saying "thank you" isn't just the polite thing to do. This simple act has serious benefits.

By Dan Nosowitz

Sometimes it can feel like just another strange social construct in our lives: we say thank you when a clerk gives us our change, when a waitress refills our water glass, when the delivery guy drops off a package. But a new study reveals just how powerful and important the simple practice of saying “thank you” can be.

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Image courtesy of Getty.

Nurses have among the most stressful jobs in the country; they deal with people at their lowest and weakest points, but don’t attract the level of respect that doctors do. (Wrongly, we might add.) Researchers at Portland State and Clemson State Universities wanted to see whether gratitude—in the form of being thanked for the work they do—could impact the mood and health of nurses in Oregon.

Related: 7 Easy Stress Relief Activities Anyone Can Do

Over the course of three months, the researchers surveyed 146 Oregon nurses, asking them each week to describe their lives—their work experiences, health, and both positive and negative things that happened to them.

Being thanked, it turns out, is correlated with all kinds of beneficial things in life. The nurses who were thanked at work more often experienced more sleep, better sleep, fewer headaches, and even tended to eat more healthful meals.

So the next time you have an interaction with someone who’s doing their job, and that job benefits you? Make sure to thank them. They’ll thank you for doing it.

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