In Positive Psychology, a powerful positive intervention – something to lift you up when you are feeling down, and to help keep you feeling good over some time – is the Gratitude Letter.
The principle is simple, and the effects are profound.
Here are the instructions, as taken from Sonya Lyubomirsky’s wonderful book, The How of Happiness:
Express gratitude direction to another… If there’s someone in particular to whom you owe a debt of gratitude, express your appreciation in concrete terms. Perhaps it’s your mom, favorite uncle, or old friend; perhaps it’s an old coach, teacher, or supervisor. Write him or her a letter now, and if possible, visit and read the letter out loud in person, on either a special day (birthday, anniversary, or holiday) or a random one. Describe in detail what he or she did for you and exactly how it affected your life; mention how you often remember his or her efforts. Some people find it uplifting to write gratitude letters to individuals whom they don’t know personally but who have influenced their lives (such as authors or politicians) or made their lives easier (such as their postal carriers or bus drivers). (pp 97-98)
Over the past couple of weeks, many people have responded to my invitation to become a fan or to “like” my LVS Consulting Facebook page. In the past, Facebook has been a wholly personal area for me, but, bowing to the allure of social networking beyond LinkedIn, I recently opened up a Facebook fan page for LVS Consulting.
I am in complete awe at how my friends and colleagues have responded with overwhelming support. I have been keeping a list of everyone who is a new fan of my page, and I filled several sheets. Thank you all.
While it’s not quite the same as a gratitude letter, I am contacting each new fan individually to say “thanks”. Thanks for your support on Facebook, thanks for your subscription to my blog, thanks for your comments and thanks for your good wishes. It makes my work blossom and flourish when there is a community of support, and it makes me feel less alone.
We need a better word than “thanks” – it doesn’t quite convey the heartfulness of the expression of gratitude that I wish to convey – and I hope that each individual message and our continued positive relationship will help to highlight that gratitude.
With all of our mutual support, we will realize our dreams towards a better world in so many ways.