How to say ‘Thank you’ and Mean it

Oct 29, 2014

Happy Canadian THANKSgiving.

Saying thank you is something that makes sense in theory but doesn’t always translate into real life. At least that is what I tried to tell myself after reading an article on the benefits of learning to say thank you like you mean it.

American researcher Martin Seligman, who specialises in positive psychology, found that people who do something as simple as keeping a ‘gratitude’ journal are usually a lot happier than those who don’t. And while some people (including me) may question his ability to quantify something like ‘happiness’, it seems that other respected minds in this field also hold the same views.

Robert Emmons, author, said people who regularly practice gratitude are often healthier, more optimistic and less likely to suffer from depression. So what does this mean for busy moms? Well. I took it as a hint to slow down and reassess my priorities.

So I headed out to the agriturismo-farmhouse La Capitana, a very special place in the heart of the Italian Maremma area of Tuscany, with a bunch of close friends to spend my third annual Thanksgiving Weekend.

Maria and friends

La Capitana (where we also hold our kids’ summer camps) has a natural beauty, a calmness and an ethereal quality about it. It is out of this world yet makes you feel very grounded and centered when you’re there. It feels like going back to basics, finding that inner balance again. As you park the car, take out your weekend bag, your shoulders begin to droop and the tension starts to seep out of you.

And there is nothing like spending quality time with your friends, with the kids roaming around, playing freely and giggling in the distance. Our activities centered around yoga sessions held outside on a pristine green lawn with awe-inspiring views of the Tuscan countryside, dining on locally-produced Tuscan meals al fresco, and sipping glasses of red wine as we watched the sun go down.


The kids had a riot too, enjoying cycle rides down muddy country lanes, sometimes joining us in yoga sessions or diving into the clear blue waters of the swimming pool.

There was enough space to enjoy being together or apart. New friendships were forged and old ones were solidified. Moms enjoyed spending time with their kids away from the stresses and schedules of their every day lives. Husbands and dads also had time to bond with their kids, which reminded me yet again of how important this relationship is: in fact, we will soon be launching a Me+Dad in Tuscany program to compliment our Me+Mom package.

Click here to see the dates and fees for Me+Mom 2015 retreat →

There is so much to be thankful for.

Sometimes we need a little reminder… to slow down and give thanks. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life. And there is no-one more special than my boy Giovanni, already 8 years old which means I have about another 7 or 8 summers with him before he wants to do his own thing, if I’m lucky!

Maria and Gio

If all it takes to feel happier is saying thank you, I might as well try it out for a week or so and see if my positivity levels rise.

Sure this is probably easier said than done – we can’t spend every weekend at La Capitana and we all know what a bad day at the office does to our ability to ‘think positive’ but I think it’s worth a shot…

P.S. – If you have any of your own ‘gratitude tips’ please feel free to share them with me!