Gratitude is a powerful practice. I can attest from my own experiences that a strong commitment to giving thanks for the last 12 years has helped to keep me healthy and humble. Gratitude is derived from the Latin gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Research shows that practicing gratitude can create lasting happiness and improve health.
Years ago I designed a social art project where I asked people to write gratitude lists. Everyone that participated received a handmade journal from me full of blank pages to encourage them to start a daily gratitude practice. This project took place at a few public art events in different countries and was such an awesome experience. The feedback I got from the participants affirmed my initial hunch that more of us needed to take some time to reflect on the goodness in our lives.
Fast forward to now and this is something that I bring into my coaching practice. Too often we can get caught up in all that isn’t working, everything we don’t have all the while missing the beauty and wonder that is available to us in the present moment. Even in my darkest moments I can choose to be grateful just like I can choose to feel defeated. It’s important to remember that there are many responses we can pick from, regardless of our life experiences.
Spend some time thinking of a person that has made a big impact on your life. Write them a letter expressing how grateful you are for their presence. Thank them for how they have inspired or supported you. Share in an honest way how they have made your life better. You have the choice of reading them the letter in person, phone, Skype, etc or mailing/emailing it to them. We have many ways to communicate these days, pick one that feels a bit scary—challenge yourself here. Trust me, it will be a deeply healing practice for both of you.