Last year, I wrote about a webinar on emotional resilience that was part of our company’s wellness program.

In a follow-up e-mail sent out by the leader of the session, Jen Arnold of Redesigning Wellness, Inc., she made suggestions of Ways to Practice Gratitude. Here, again, are a couple:

Three Good Things: Take a few minutes every evening to write down three good things about your day. The entries don’t have to be major events—they might be as simple as a good meal, talking to a friend, or getting through a difficult challenge.

Write a Letter: Think about someone who has had a major impact on your life, someone who you would like to thank, or someone who you appreciate having in your life. Write a letter with specific details about what it is you appreciate about them, and send it.

I share the first, because it is a wonderful habit I highly recommend you trying for the next 21 days.

I share the second because I was reminded of it when I read an article in the New York Times about thank-you notes.

The piece explained that new research showed the recipients of an emailed expression of gratitude felt much more “ecstatic” than writers expected.

I’ve heard many times how much nicer it is to send hand-written thank-you notes. I haven’t done that very often—I almost always use email—so it was good to learn how impactful emailed thank-you notes are.

The Times piece explains people underestimate the positive feelings thank-you notes bring, overestimate how insincere the note may appear, and overestimate how uncomfortable it will make the recipient feel.

“The study (was) published…in the journal Psychological ScienceNumerous studies had documented a range of benefits to individuals who express gratitude, so then the question researchers turned to was — what’s holding people back? Along with underestimating the value of sending a note to another person, many seemed to be concerned with how much their writing would be scrutinized. As it turned out, most recipients didn’t care how the notes were phrased, they cared about warmth.”

“Participants were also judged to be more competent at writing than they expected…The study found that many subjects were concerned that recipients would feel awkward upon receiving the compliment-filled letters. (Recipients rarely did.)”

“To be clear — the notes in question were not your typical “thanks for the Amazon gift card.” Rather, the 100 or so participants in each of the four experiments were asked to write a short “gratitude letter” to a person who had affected them in some way…it took most subjects less than five minutes to write the letters.”

Try it. The recipient will like it. And you’ll feel good knowing you helped someone else to be happier.

How do you practice gratitude? Please join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,

David

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