Don’t keep gratitude to yourself: Share it and spread a big dose of happiness.
Two things that science has indicated are influential in our happiness are
- meaningful, quality relationships with other people
- regular gratitude practise.
Imagine how powerful it can be if you combine these together?
Expressing gratitude in an authentic, genuine way with people who are significant in your life, is a great way to strengthen relationships and boost well-being.
One of the basic human needs that everyone has, is to feel connected to other human beings. Positive, healthy relationships can have a great impact on your life expectancy, your immune system and your overall life satisfaction.As humans, we thrive when we have meaningful relationships with other human beings, based on compassion and kindness.
There is also a growing body of evidence that gratitude can help you feel more satisfied with life, which in turn increases your general happiness and well-being. Even after practising gratitude for a short-time, it can make long lasting changes to areas of the brain that influence your well-being.
A really common issue for people, is the tendency to find yourself paying too much attention to the things that haven’t gone to plan, or that have left you feeling anything but positive. This is why it is important, to practise things that can focus our attention to sources of more positive emotions. Gratitude is one way to do this.
In a previous blog, I explore gratitude and different ways of practising it in greater detail. In this blog I want to focus on the importance of expressing gratitude to other people in our lives, inspired by Martin Seligman (a leading professor of Positive Psychology). Expressing authentic, genuine gratitude to someone significant in your life can be like an extra strong dose of well-being.
- it strengthens, and reinforces the relationship between you and the person you are expressing your gratitude with
- it leaves the recipient with not only a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, but also reinforces their sense of worth, and that their actions are appreciated
- it boosts your sense of well-being
In my previous blog, I mention saying thank you as one of the ways to practise more gratitude into your daily life. However, this practise concerns writing a letter to someone, to express gratitude on a deeper level, than a thank you for holding a door open for you or helping you carry something.
Put pen to paper…
For this, I really do recommend putting pen to paper (or card). In a time, when a lot of communication is done electronically, it makes receiving a handwritten note, so much more special.
- Think of someone who is still alive, who has done something or said something that changed your life for the better.
- Your task is to write them a letter of gratitude. The letter should be specific about the thing that you are grateful to them for and how it affected you. Also, let them know what you are doing now if you haven’t been in touch with them lately, and mention how you often remember the thing that they did.
- Deliver the letter. If you have a postal address for them you could post it (it is always super lovely to receive a handwritten note or card from someone, especially one full of loveliness!). Or even better, why not deliver it in person? Arrange to meet them, and deliver your thanks in person.
Enjoy the whole process of this, the reflecting, the reminiscing and the delivering. And remember, simply thinking the thoughts of thanks is a waste – you need to express it! Don’t leave it wrapped up in the corner, collecting dust for no-one to enjoy.