Makes me cry every time….
So my friend, Jennifer, who is a priest at one of my churches (yeah, I go to two), asked if I could give a Sunday School talk on the psychology of gratitude. I called my talk “Practical Gratitude” and included several gratitude enhancing exercises, most of which take only a few minutes to do – but with massive impact. Why do this? Well, in a few words, a regular gratitude practice has been shown to have a positive impact on mood, behavior, relationships, you name it. I saved the big, elaborate mack-daddy of all gratitude exercises for last. And it always makes me cry to even describe it – makes me cry in a good way. I got this from a couple of sources before I tracked down the real source: Dr. Martin Seligman, the “father of positive psychology.” He describes this method of maximum gratitude in several books and articles. Here it is:
Spend some time thinking of someone who has made a positive difference in your life. Maybe a one-time kindness or maybe ongoing support and help when you needed it. Make it someone you can get your hands on now. Get some good stationary and hand write a letter to him or her describing specifically what he did and how it impacted you. Write what a difference this made in your life even up to right now. Take the letter and have it laminated. Call the person and ask to meet them. Read them the letter aloud, then leave it with them.
As usual, when I got to this part of my talk, I teared up just thinking about doing this – give it a try – Dr. Seligman guarantees up to 6 months positive impact on your mood!