You may be sick of hearing that it’s important to be grateful. Let me share why it’s worth heeding this sage advice and share an amazing way to show gratitude to someone who has been important in your life.
I’ve written before about our negativity bias. This refers to our tendency to focus on bad over good and always be on high alert for danger.
This internal alarm system protected our ancestors from starvation, extreme weather, and being eaten by lions. Today, our negativity bias can create a tendency towards.....well, negativity!
Look For The Positive
Thanks to the neuroplasticity of the brain, you can learn new things and develop new neural pathways. Tools such as a gratitude journal, remind you to keep looking for good things to counteract the bad.
The more grateful you are, even for the littlest of things. the deeper the groove of the new pathway of positivity and gratefulness.
Write a Gratitude Letter
One evidence-based way to improve your well-being is to write and deliver a gratitude letter. According to PositivePsychologyProgram.com:
Expressing your thanks can really improve your overall sense of well-being: studies show that grateful people are more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic (McCullough et al., 2002; McCullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2004; Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008; Wood, Maltby, Stewart, Linley et al., 2008). Furthermore, gratitude is related negatively to depression and positively to life satisfaction (Wood, Joseph, & Maltby, 2008).
Think about someone in your past or present who has done something for you that has had a positive impact on your life. It may be someone you haven’t spoken to or thought about in a while.
Sit down and write a letter to them outlining the impact of what they have done. Be specific about what it was, why it mattered, and how it made a difference in your life. Ideally, you should arrange a time to meet with the person to deliver the letter. If that’s not possible, consider reading the letter to them over the phone.
The 7-minute video below illustrates the impact of this exercise (spoiler alert - you may want to have some tissues handy!)
Many thanks to Margi Hirschberg, for sharing this fantastic video with me!
Have you every written and delivered a gratitude letter? If so, please share your experience!
I am grateful for the abundance of blessings in my life and wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter, and good food!