Giving Gratitude is Graciously Gratifying

by Psyguy on February 27, 2010 · 11 comments

in happiness,positive psychology

Have you ever noticed how the past keeps appearing in the present?  Often without even knowing we’re doing it, we’re ruminating and/or daydreaming about things gone past.  If we’re ruminating, the past is probably making us miserable and if we’re daydreaming, the past is probably making us happier.  We all want to be happier.  So here’s two ways you can put the past to work for your happiness.

1.  At the end of each day, just before you go to bed, think back over your day and remember three things that went right for you.  Think about how they came about and how they evolved.  Relish the memories of how you felt when those things were going right earlier in the day.  And now, tell yourself, “It might have been otherwise. It’s so easy for things to go wrong. I was lucky today because three things went right. I feel graced and grateful”.  You’ll be surprised how getting into a gratitude mind-space at the end of the day makes for a more pleasant sleep and a happier tomorrow.

2.  This weekend set aside thirty minutes to reflect on your days and years gone past. Ask yourself was there ever someone who was unselfishly kind and supportive of me?    The person could have been a distant relative, a co-worker, a friend of a friend, a teacher, a postal person, a clerk at the corner store, you’ll remember someone.  Now take another thirty minutes and write that kind, supportive person a letter of gratitude.  Be specific. Describe to them how they were kind and supportive to you and how it made you feel at the time.  Clearly express your gratitude and thanks to them and let them know how they affected your life.  Tell them how you’re different today because of their kindness and support.  It feels great to let someone know that you noticed and cherish that they dared to care.  Put the letter in a special envelop, pick up the phone and make an appointment with the person for a friendly chat.  Don’t let them know exactly why you’re visiting them.  Use the power of surprise to have an experience of gratitude together.  When you’re together read your gratitude letter out loud to them, carefully observing their reactions.  Now open up, go with the flow, have a good talk about kindness, support and gratitude.  You’ll both leave feeling happier.

Giving gratitude is a transformative technique for building life satisfaction because it amplifies your good memories about the past.  Giving gratitude is graciously gratifying.  Gratitude is contagious, be a carrier.  If you want to find out where you score on the gratitude scale and happiness index then visit the authentic happiness website and complete the surveys.  And, if you want to chat about your authentic happiness, I’m here, Dan.

Similar Calgary Psychologists News:

  1. Positive Psychology and the Benefits of Giving Gratitude
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carol Goddard February 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Awesome article, Dan! Am taking your advice…got myself a gratitude book to write in at the end of the day. I know that’s going to set up my sleep and the next day so much better than my tendency to ruminate on the things that are not so positive. And I was already in the process of writing someone a gratitude letter, so I’m on the right track. Keep the inspirational articles coming!

2 Dr. Sarah Eaton March 18, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Wonderful advice, Dan! Life is too short to forget to be grateful.

3 Brenda MacMillan March 19, 2010 at 12:02 am

Thank you Dan.

Gratitude journals, moments of reflection, meditation on that very thought of receiving such grace and good will from all around us; yup, that is the ticket to a happy heart. Notice those moments, embrace those beings in a life that that just make one smile. Laugh every day at how silly and too full of genius we all are, or can be. Just smile.

4 Psyguy March 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for the happiness tips, Brenda. Smiling I am!

5 Psyguy March 19, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Right you are, Dr. Sarah. I’d even venture to say that giving graditude graciously, makes a “short life” into a deeper and longer life!

6 bunny slippers March 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Giving gratitude is a very sound philosophy, unfortunately to be in a position where one would actually benefit on the level you suggest,( in my opinion) would indicate that the individual giving gratitude is already well on his or her way to knowing and a deeper understanding of themselves and thus are able to separate, without ego, to a place of clarity that allows them to open up without fear of putting themselves in a vulnerable position.
There is also the other side of the equation… the receiver, of said gratitude and the relationship therein..One would think that how the gratitude or effort of giving gratitude is received, would lend itself in part to how much benefit the action would actually generate.
It is not that I disagree and I personally see value in the thought and action, although I am not aware of busloads of others who feel the same way. .. but then again.. I have never asked, and maybe that is why they have couches in those offices.. smile

7 Psyguy March 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Hello “bunny slippers”, eventhough you’ve never asked others if they give gratitude with a “handle” like bunny slippers, you’ve got to have a smiling, happy, self hopping around inside you somewhere, :>).

8 Psyguy April 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Always here as a resource and sounding board!

9 Psyguy May 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

Thank you for the feedback!

10 Psyguy May 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

Thank you for continuing to enjoy the posts, Mark.

11 Angela Lamb April 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Gratitude is on my mind these days. I am asking how I can adjust my experience of life by adjusting my view of life…I think gratitude fits in that process. By working to take a witnesses view of my own life I am able to see the balance and trade-offs. By adding gratitude practices I can find the joy that sometimes gets lost in my day to day life. Great article and process, thank you.

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