The Positivity of Gratitude

Thankfulness changes not only our own hearts, but the hearts of those around us.

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Posted in , Jun 13, 2012

Daily Devotionals blogger Julia Attaway

Positive psychologist Martin Seligman has a simple exercise that improves emotional well-being and reduces depression. He calls it the Gratitude Visit. In his book Flourish, he tells us what to do:

“Close your eyes. Call up the face of someone still alive who years ago did something or said something that changed your life for the better. Someone who you never properly thanked; someone you could meet face-to-face next week. Got a face?

“Your task is to write a letter of gratitude to this individual and deliver it in person. The letter should be concrete and about 300 words: Be specific about what she did for you and how it affected your life. Let her know what you are now, and mention how you often remember what she did. Make it sing!”

Once the letter’s done, call up the person and say you want to visit—but shhh! Don’t say why! When you get together, read your letter out loud. Take your time. Then, talk.

You know it will work. Thankfulness changes not only our own hearts, but the hearts of those around us. Why? Because “if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12).

Try it.

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