Purpose: Gratitude is a powerful tool for enhancing our relationships because it
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Purpose: Gratitude is a powerful tool for enhancing our relationships because it makes us realize we are interdependent, and how others are often helpinging, encouraging, or influencing our lives. It is also a great tool for increasing positive emotions because it amplifies good memories about the past.
Instructions: You likely realize how many people have been kind to you, helpful and influential in your life. Call to mind someone who did something for you for which you are extremely grateful but to whom you never expressed your deep gratitude. This could be a relative, friend, teacher, or colleague. *Try to pick someone who is still alive and you could meet with in the next week (you can meet by phone, video conference or in person if it is possible/safe).
Now, write a letter to one of these people, guided by the following steps.
Write as though you are addressing this person directly (“Dear ______”).
Describe in specific terms what this person did, why you are grateful to this person, and how this person’s behavior affected your life. Try to be as concrete as possible.
Describe what you are doing in your life now and how you often remember his or her efforts.
Try to keep your letter to roughly one – two pages.
Next, you should meet with the person by phone, video conference, or in person to deliver your letter, following these steps:
Plan a visit with the recipient
Let that person know you’d like to see him or her and have something special to share, but don’t reveal the exact purpose of the meeting.
When you meet, let the person know that you are grateful to them and would like to read a letter expressing your gratitude; ask that he or she refrain from interrupting until you’re done.
Take your time reading the letter. While you read, pay attention to his or her reaction as well as your own.
After you have read the letter, be receptive to his or her reaction and discuss your feelings together.
Remember to give the letter to the person (either mail it to them or scan and email it to them. If you are meeting in person, you can hand it to them when you leave.)
* It is up to you whether you choose to read this letter over the phone, via video conference or in person to the person you are thanking. For your assignment, include the gratitude letter in the first page. If you are horrified at this proposition of reading the letter to them, you can simply send your letter.
You should include the gratitude letter itself when you turn in your reflection paper (just include it in the same document)
Next, reflect on the following and address in your paper (in 1-3 pages):
1. How did you feel as you wrote the letter?
2. To what extent do you think you will recall the experience in the days that follow writing the letter?
How do you think this recollection will affect your mood?
How long do you think these feelings will last after you write your letter?
3. Have you thought of others with whom you wish to share your gratitude?
4. How do you think this experience will influence, at all, your current and future development?
5. How did you read your letter to the recipient? (e.g., phone, Zoom, or in person). If you did not read the letter to the recipient, did you mail it to them?
6. After reading the letter to the recipient, or if you mailed the letter to the recipient, how did they react to your expression of gratitude? How were you affected by the recipient’s reaction?
7. How long do you think these feelings will last for both of you?
8. Are you likely to do this again? Why or why not?
9. Remember to include the actual letter you wrote at the end of the document.
*If you are terribly uncomfortable reading and/or sending the letter to the recipient, you do not need to read or send it to the recipient. Just note this in the assignment. This is not required and it will not negatively impact your grade.
Format your paper, use in-text citations, and include a reference page (if you use sources) according to APA guidelines.
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