Earlier this week we shared three ways to experience gratitude in your life, every day. Why? Because research shows it’s one of the most powerful ways to get connected, calm our minds, and take some of the sting out of stress. So here are three more!
Write that thank-you letter. (And read it out loud.)
The New York Times reports that the act of writing a letter of gratitude, and better yet, reading it aloud to the recipient, can enhance happiness and lessen depression. Famous positive psychology researcher Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania recommends writing a 300-word letter, including specific details about how the person’s actions affected you for the better. Let the waterworks begin.
Find gratitude in small moments.
Just before you begin any new activity, take a second to really experience gratitude, suggests Patricia Campbell Carlson, executive director of A Network for Grateful Living, an organization that provides education and support for the practice of grateful living, including videos, guided meditations, and online courses.
“Before taking your first sip of orange juice in the morning, for example, pause and be grateful for that juice,” she says in the Christian Science Monitor. “[When you] read the news, pay special attention for what opportunities might be there — to send a donation, pray, or even see that something went well in the world.”
Give when you receive.
Paying gratitude forward is much more than a warm fuzzy thought. As Stephen Post explores in Why Good Things Happen to Good People, generous behavior can quell anxiety, reduce depression, and literally increase lifespan. Use your thankful feelings as motivation to do a good turn yourself, whether it’s listening to a friend who needs to talk or tidying up a neighborhood park. You’ll be grateful you did.
Becky Karush is a writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. Visit her at lifestorycompany.com.