Let's wrap up this week of gratitude. You started on Sunday, writing down 5 things each night that you were grateful for. I hope you were able to do that. It's okay if you didn't - I know in a busy life it can be a challenge.
That happiness tool was to show you all you have to be grateful for. Let's wrap up this week telling someone else all you have to be grateful for. Let's wrap it up with some research on writing a letter of thanks to someone.
Dr. Martin Seligman is a leading researcher in the positive psychology field. He tested the impact of sending letters of gratitude to others. Participants in a study were asked to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness. Almost all the participants in the study exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was one of the largest of all the happiness "tools" with benefits lasting for over a month.
Long before I knew there was science to back it up, I embarked on a little project during November of 2008. For the entire month, I wrote a letter (and sent it) to various people in my life. I sent one to a former boss. I sent one to the woman who helped take care of my son and daughter when they were little. I sent a letter to my favorite author, Wayne Dyer.
I'll admit it was a little awkward. And I’ll admit it was a challenge finding 30 people to write a letter to. I think that’s why I wrote to Wayne (who, by the way, thanked me back by sending me a note along with a signed book and CD – a nice treat for me showing gratitude). So, I’m not suggesting you write 30 letters. Just one. You don’t even have to send it. The act of writing will make you happier.
You don’t have to write a long letter. Maybe it’s just a note to your employee. Maybe it’s just a card to an old friend to tell them you’re thinking of them. Just make it heartfelt.
One of those 30 letters I sent in 2008 was to my parents. My mom has since passed. And while I don’t remember what I wrote to her specifically, I am forever grateful that I sent that letter.
Write that letter. You don’t have to mail it. You should, but you don’t have to. Just write.