OUR GRATITUDE PRACTICES
We have long known the power of gratitude. After being gifted THE GRATITUDE HABIT ...a 365 day journal and workbook by Wendy Meg Siegel, we began our daily practice of expressing gratitude. Each night, we reflect on the events of the day and record what we’re thankful for in our gratitude journals. This nightly ritual allows us to savor the positive in our lives rather than focus on the negative.
Then happiness expert and New York Times bestselling author Tal Ben-Shahar inspired us to begin our gratitude sharing practice. In his book, Happier, he highly recommends sharing letters of gratitude to create profoundly positive impacts on both the sender and recipient.
HERE ARE SOME OF OUR BEST PRACTICES FOR SHARING GRATITUDE:
BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE.
Calling out specific memories will drive home the point of how meaningful their actions were to you.
USE THE WORD "APPRECIATE".
“I appreciate” is more meaningful than “thank you” because “thank you” is often used out of politeness, regardless of how much the action meant to you. “I appreciate” conveys gratitude and that you understand how valuable the action was/is.
GO INTO DETAIL.
Explain the impact their action(s) had/have on you rather than just restating what they did. Often people don’t realize how meaningful their actions are because people don’t share that information with them.
SPEAK FROM THE HEART.
Don’t think too hard and share your authentic feelings.
SEND THE MESSAGE THROUGH WHATEVER MEDIUM WORKS BEST FOR YOU.
Digital messages are a great way to easily share gratitude. Though if you have some time, handwriting a note adds a nice personal touch.
DEVELOP A GRATITUDE ROUTINE.
Send cards, write in a gratitude journal, and/or meditate on what you're thankful for regularly. “When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates” (Ben-Shahar, 2017).
GRATITUDE SHARING TEMPLATE
Below are some sample sentence fragments you can use for inspiration while writing your messages of appreciation.
Dear, Hi, Hello _,
How do you feel most comfortable addressing the recipient?
I appreciate you for/
I appreciate your…
What specific action(s)/trait(s) of theirs do you most appreciate? Eg: I appreciate you for spending your time helping me with Calculus, I appreciate you being so generous by taking me out to dinner, I appreciate your kindness and ability to be so authentic with everyone you meet, etc.
Highlight some of their best qualities. Eg: funny, caring, wise, etc.
Your friendship, leadership, work/
our relationship has meant so much to me because/
I cherish our…
What about your relationship with them do you value the most? Eg: I cherish our friendship because you have helped me be more confident in myself.
Love, Peace and Joy ->
How do you wish to close the message?
I really value you taking the time to explain the spreadsheet to me yesterday. You are so kind for helping me understand all of the information we need to collect and how to use the filtering functions. Your friendship means a lot to me because you made me feel so welcome to the company and we always have great conversations.
I appreciate you being such a good friend. You always have my back, got me out of my shell, and are the funniest guy I know. Thanks to you, I met Tara and have a beautiful family with her and the kids. I know we don’t see each other as much as we used to but I wanted to let you know just how much your friendship has meant to me over the years. I love you like a brother.
My family and I ate at your restaurant the other day and I wanted to let you know how much my family appreciates your work. Your food is delicious (I love the chile relleno burrito), your waitstaff is incredibly friendly, and the atmosphere is so warm and inviting. It was my son Leo’s birthday and he can’t stop talking about how much he enjoyed the surprise chocolate cake that our waiter Jack brought to the table. We look forward to dining at your place again soon and will be recommending it to all of our friends.
Ben-Shahar, Tal. Happier. McGraw Hill, 2007.
Ben-Shahar, Tal. “When you appreciate, the good appreciates.” LinkedIn, 18 May 2017, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-you-appreciate-good-appreciates-tal-ben-shahar.
Siegel, Wendy Meg. THE GRATITUDE HABIT ...a 365 day journal and workbook. Wendy Meg Siegel, 2012.