A Gratitude Visit
By Debbie Lyn Toomey RN, Mindfulness Educator
Author of The Happiness Result
Don’t you just love getting snail mails from people you care about?
It makes me so happy!
Here’s a no-cost way to make this Thanksgiving a truly happy one for you and someone special in your life. It’s a gratitude practice that not too many people know about. It’s called a “gratitude visit”.
Gratitude is more than saying thanks. According to the study by Martin Seligman, past president of the American Psychological Association, a gratitude visit is a moving way to express your deep appreciation and gratitude to someone who has made a big difference in your life. The gratitude letter gives you a chance to write down the positive feelings that you have always wanted to share with a person. When you are done writing this heart-felt letter, personally deliver it and read it out loud. Taking the time to write, deliver, and read your gratitude letter has been proven by Seligman’s research to have positive results for many months.
Both you and the receiver will benefit greatly from this unique and powerful exercise. Here’s how you can get started in your very own gratitude visit during this holiday season.
1. Think of someone that positively influenced you in your life.
2. On a piece of paper, write down how grateful you are about having him or her in your life. Write down what you’ve always wanted to say to that person.
3. Continue by writing down what has happened.
4. Write down as much as you can.
5. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation.
6. Notice how you feel after writing the letter.
7. Call the person and let him or her know that you want to stop by.
8. Deliver the gratitude letter in person.
9. Read the whole letter slowly to that special someone.
10. As you are reading, pay attention to the reaction of the receiver.
11. Notice how you feel afterwards.
12. Pay attention to your level of positivity in the coming weeks because of the gratitude visit.
I encourage you to try this exercise during this holiday season. Do as many as you can. As my positive psychology professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, used to say, “when you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”
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