It’s Day 13 and back to gratitude. It’s too much of a biggy not to!
A few years ago I was lucky enough to go on one of Robert Holden’s Happiness Courses (Robert is the Founder of the Happiness Project) and I found myself being asked to write three letters to people in my life that I wanted to express gratitude towards. This for me appeared an easy task, since I was already writing my gratitude diary and people I loved popped up on a nightly basis. But actually this exercise was very different. There were some, like my Mum, who I found it easy to tell them how much I loved them, how much they had given me, and how grateful I was for their presence in my life. But others (often males, like my Dad and my brother!) I realised as much as I felt these things, for some reason I found it hard to communicate them. So I set about writing the letters, and as I did so I felt truly happy.
Evidence shows that once you have written the letter, if you then ideally read it to the person, or at least send it, this will increase happiness levels further! On my course we had to post the letters, but interestingly enough when they were received fortuitously they led to a conversation, and in the case of my Dad, enabled me to truly express how grateful I was.
There’s an interesting experiment from 2013 where a group of people were asked to write a gratitude letter. For those that did, happiness increased between 2% and 4%. Not so staggering. However, for those that then picked up the phone, read their letters and expressed their gratitude the happiness increases were between 4% and 19%. Even more interestingly, the person whose happiness increased the most in this experiment was the one who was the unhappiest at the start. (To see the film of this experiment visit this YouTube link). In summary, if you’re feeling bad, go express your gratitude, because it’s very likely you’ll feel a whole lot better. Get scrawling!
Please click here for further research on Gratitude.