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Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: The Happiness Power of Expressing Gratitude

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: The Happiness Power of Expressing Gratitude

Today we revisit the powerhouse that is gratitude, one of the most well researched and incredibly effective ways to boost happiness and rewire the brain for more positivity and less negativity. On Day 1 we addressed the happiness hack of the gratitude journal; today we turn to a simple yet powerful tool that moves your gratitude into the form of a ‘thank you.’

Key Takeaways

  • The ‘gratitude visit,’ as it is called by positive psychologist Marin Seligman, demonstrates a huge, long lived boost in happiness…even one month out participants had much higher levels of happiness, less depression, and fewer negative thoughts.

  • The extra boost of this exercise likely comes from 1) simple expression of gratitude, 2) recalling a positive, pleasant memory, 3) contagious gratitude (the other person gets a gratitude hit too), and 4) strengthening of the relationship (remember social connections is a happiness booster too!).

  • We will modify the exercise slightly for today’s challenge, but ultimately the goal is to say thank you in a thoughtful, purposeful manner for a big happiness boost.

Today’s Challenge

Virtual Gratitude Visit

  1. Call to mind a person who did something for you for which you are extremely grateful, but to whom you never had the opportunity to say thank you.

  2. Write a letter addressed to the person (“Dear_____); typing or hand-writing are both options.

  3. Describe in specific terms what this person did for you, why you are grateful for this, and how this person’s behavior impacted you and your life. Be as concrete and detailed as possible.

  4. Deliver your gratitude! Either text or mail the gratitude, or call the person directly. If you want the biggest happiness high, deliver the gratitude in person as Seligman's participants did.


Martin Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well Being

Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want

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