Letters of Gratitude

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

-Eckhart Tolle

            This time of the year we often find ourselves so tangled up in buying stuff and doing things for others that we fail to recognize the abundance of gifts and people we already have in our lives.

            Gratitude is a powerful feeling. Studies show gratitude positively affects our wellbeing and improves our overall quality of life. A simple exercise such as writing letters of gratitude has demonstrated to increase our happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms. Why not give the gift of gratitude this season?  

Giving the Gift of Gratitude to Ourselves

            During these past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to experience the good vibes that come with keeping a gratitude journal. At first, I didn’t think too much of it. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea. So why not try it? I did. At the end of the day I wrote one or two things I was thankful for and why I was thankful for them. And guess what? The more things I wrote, the more I could identify other things to be grateful for! And so, the days kept on going and the good vibes kept on flowing.

Here is what I did:

  • I designated a small notebook as “My Grateful Journal” and placed with a pen on my nightstand.
  • Every night for the past 10 days I took out my notebook and wrote at least two things that I felt grateful for that day and why I was grateful for them.
  • Each morning I wake up feeling energized and full of expectation. Good will come to my life this day and I don’t want to miss it. Coffee in hand, I am already looking forward to writing down new reasons for feeling thankful as it if were a special treat, a treat I give myself at the end of a busy day.

Giving the Gift of Gratitude to Others

            Here is another idea. Think of your friends and loved ones, maybe even that cashier at the grocery store that was so nice to you while you managed to pay and respond to your tantruming toddler all at the same time! Can you find reasons to be grateful for having them in your life? If so, express it! Find people in your life that you are thankful for and write them a gratitude letter. No, not an email, not a text, and actual handwritten letter that expresses why you are grateful for them and send it their way. Gratitude strengthens our relationships by letting people now how much we appreciate them. Go ahead, send them your love through regular mail, I bet they will be both surprised and grateful for your gesture.  

This one I have not tried yet, so here is what I will do:

  • Think about 10 people I really appreciate having in my life.
  • Write each one a letter enumerating the reasons why I feel grateful for having them around.
  • Stamp and send the letters via regular mail. Hopefully, I have their addresses. If not, I will discretely ask.
  • At the end of it all, I will stop for a minute and see how this exercise makes me feel. If I feel that acknowledging the good people in my life makes a difference, then I will keep doing it!

            Gratitude is a powerful underutilized resource that we can all use to change our lives for the better. Let its positive effects reflect on your well-being, life satisfaction, and overall happiness. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea, right? Why not try it? Let me know how it goes!

Share in the comments below how you practice gratitude.


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