Small wonders – Thank you for the days – Novel approach – Through the ages – When you wish upon a star – In search of closure – Viewed through a lens – On the menu tonight… Hive mind – Forward thinking

‘And what do you say…?’ Parents and guardians are invariably heard impressing upon their children the importance of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. And many dutifully respond, adding these polite expressions quite happily when making requests or receiving gifts.

Yet expressing gratitude isn’t always straightforward and often it’s only belatedly that its need becomes apparent. It might be obvious that a ‘thank you’ is required for a birthday present. But what about the teacher who quietly plants the idea of university into the mind of a talented but self-doubting teenager; the manager who puts forward a capable but unconfident staff member for a big project; the friend who listens without judgment – and without saying ‘I told you so’ – when a relationship breaks down? It might be many years before the connection between their actions and a person’s life choices becomes apparent.

This is partly because of the brain’s tendency to hook onto the negative, but there’s also a lot of noise in the world and expressing gratitude can sometimes feel complicated. If teachers, managers and friends are supposed to be on side anyway, might a ‘thank you’ be perceived as unnecessary or even a little cheesy? In rare cases, possibly. But mostly it will be received with the sincerity and warmth with which it is given.

It won’t always be possible, of course, to track down and thank the people whose words or deeds made such an impact. But what we can do is to emulate their behaviour and pass on that support to others, be they family, friends, colleagues, strangers or, as in our case, readers.

Because that’s what we’d like to do now. Yes, it might seem contrived, awkward, even cheesy. But we’re going to do it anyway. We’d like to say a big, heartfelt thank you to you, our readers, whose support, encouragement and kind words are present in each and every issue of Breathe. We couldn’t do it without you.