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OW SERIES: Day 5 – An exercise in gratitude

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Today’s exercise is around nurturing the ties that connect you with others.

In positive psychology we often talk about the benefits of gratitude, so here is a ‘gratitude letter’ exercise to try today.

  1. Find a quiet place where you feel comfortable. Select one person from your past who has made a positive impact in your life to whom you have never fully expressed your gratitude.
  2. Write a heartfelt testimonial (about a page long). Take your time—several days if necessary. You can write on the bus or before bed, whenever feels like the right time.
  3. Invite this person to your home or go and meet them at theirs. It’s important to do this face-to-face and not just over email or phone. Don’t tell them in advance the purpose of your visit; a simple “I just want to see you” is enough.
  4. Bring your testimony as you would a gift. Choose a quiet moment and read it aloud at a slow pace, with plenty of expression, maintaining eye contact as much as possible. Talk together about the concrete elements that make them so important in your eyes.

Did you know?

When individuals who feel grateful can’t express their gratitude to the benefactor, an internal tension is caused, reducing their degree of well-being (Emmons, 2008). The positive effects of the gratitude visit demonstrated in this exercise last for up to a month after delivering the letter (extract from “Positive Psychology”, Shankland)


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By Adrien Chignard

Adrien Chignard, Occupational Psychologist, Sens & Coherence

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