Saturday, November 22, 2008

Write a gratitude letter for Thanksgiving...

It says it in the title, and we talk about being thankful every year, but did you know that being thankful and expressing gratitude may actually make you a happier person? What we know generally is that people who are more optimistic tend to have stronger immune system, reduction in cancer risk, longer survival following heart attack and greater long-term health.

We also know that you can learn to be more optimistic. In fact one study showed that people who kept track of events they were grateful for two weeks showed significant increases in joy, happiness and life satisfaction as compared to people who kept track of daily events and life hassles.

So the key here is not just thinking about it, but actually writing it down. There is a simple exercise that can have a very powerful impact on you and others around around you. It's called the Gratitude Letter and it was developed by Martin Seligman.

Between now and Thanksgiving pick one person who has made a major positive difference in your life and who you have never really expressed thanks to. Write a one page letter telling them why you are thankful, how they have affected your life and what they mean to you. Take your time, and really think about the impact they have had on you.

Now, if you will be seeing this person at thanksgiving. Simply put the letter in an envelope and give it to them right before they leave or you leave. Don’t make any explanation; just ask them to read it when they get home. The less fuss you make the better. If the person is someone you won’t be seeing at thanksgiving write the letter and send it to them.

Its simple exercise but it can have a dramatic impact on you and the person you write to, and it’s something that we unfortunately don’t do enough of-this holiday is a perfect excuse to take the time.

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1 comment:

ramoji said...

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