Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying.
When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event in our life.
Also, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them. In this exercise you will have the opportunity to experience what it is like to express your gratitude in a thoughtful, purposeful manner.
Close your eyes. Call up the face of someone still alive who did something or said something that changed your life for the better. Someone who you never properly thanked; someone you could meet face-to-face next week.
Got a face?
Your task is to write a letter of gratitude to this individual and deliver it in person.
The letter should be concrete and about three hundred words: be specific about what this person did for you and how it affected your life. Let him/her know what you are doing now, and mention how you often remember what he/she did for you.
Once you have written the testimonial, call the person and tell him/her you’d like to visit, but be vague about the purpose of the meeting; this exercise is much more fun when it is a surprise!
When you meet him/her, take your time reading your letter.
Notice the reactions of the recipient as well as yours.
If the person interrupts you as you read, say that you really want him/her to listen until you are done. After you have read the letter (every word) discuss the content and your feelings for each other.
You will be happier and less depressed one month from your meeting.
(Adapted from the book Flourish by Martin Seligman)