I have written blogs on the power of gratitude and shared exercises on how to create a gratitude practice. I honestly believe that the more we count our blessings the more blessings we get. It also increases your sense of well-being and decreases symptoms of depression, anxiety and victimization.
Besides having a gratitude jar where I put items that are connected to a positive experience (i.e. ticket to a concert), pictures, drawings my kids and clients make for me, I also keep a gratitude journal, quotes and a gratitude list at work. That’s how much I believe in gratitude and how much it has helped me in my personal journey. Recently I added to my gratitude practice a “Gratitude Visit” suggested by Martin, E.P. Seligman in his book Flourish. This exercise is based on creating letters to people who have done something for you, big or small, and that impacted your life in some way. Close your eyes and think of someone who did something or said something that really impacted your life and who maybe doesn’t even know it. Once you have a person in mind take the time to write a letter. It needs to be more than 300 words and provide specific details on the event, how you felt and the ways his actions or words impacted your life. Once you finish the letter call the person and let her know you want to pay her a visit. Don’t give her any details. Once you are with that person take some time to read the letter to her and pay attention to her body language and the way she receives your words. Notice also your feelings while you read the letter.
Through this exercise you will have the opportunity to experience what it feels to express gratitude in a thoughtful, meaningful and purposeful manner. You will benefit from the pleasant memory, the feelings of expressing gratitude and the response we get from those we express gratitude to. I know I did!
Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NCC