Gratitude Visit Exercise

Close your eyes. Imagine the face of someone still alive who years ago did or said something that changed your life for the better. Someone you never properly thanked; someone you could meet face-to-face next week. Got a face?

Now, write a letter of gratitude to this individual and deliver it in person. Make the letter concrete and detailed; around three hundred words: be specific about what she/he did for you and how it affected your life. Let her/him know what you are doing now, and mention how you often remember what she/he did. Make it sing!

After you write the letter, call the person and tell her/him 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, take your time reading your letter. Be clear before you begin that you want to read the letter though without interruption. Notice her/his reactions as well as your own as you read. 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 now.   Take-Away – Express Gratitude as often as possible. Habitually acknowledging and expressing gratitude benefits health, sleep, relationships, and performance.

adopted from Flourish, Martin E.P. Seligman (Free Press 2012)