Birch Tree Psychology

Specializing in Therapy for Children, Adults, and Families


One Simple Letter Can Make You Happier

Posted by Brittany on July 17, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Whenever people find out that we do presentations on Ways to Increase Your Happiness they always ask “So, what one thing can I do to be happier?” We always say that although there are many things that you can do, the simplest thing is to write a letter of gratitude to someone who has done something meaningful for you. The magnitude of the resulting happiness may surprise you.

The basic idea behind this exercise is to first think of a person who has had a positive impact on your life. Now we are going to walk you through the outline of this letter. Start out by telling the recipient of the letter how you feel about them. More specifically, you want to identify and describe a particular situation that was meaningful to you and you felt grateful for their help. Following this you will write how their actions have been helpful to you. Last, you should explain how their help has changed you. The following is a basic outline of the letter.

Dear _____,

I have been thinking about you and _____________.

I remember when you _________

And that helped me by _______________

Because of your help I now ____________________

To be most effective, the letter should be one to two pages single-spaced. So it is important that you elaborate by writing how this person has affected you positively and how grateful you are to have them in your life. Once you have written the letter you should prepare it as a gift to the person, perhaps you can laminate it or frame it for them. The final step is actually reading the letter to them and then giving it to them as a gift. Research shows that doing this activity can improve your mood for a whole month and has even been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression!

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