Over a year ago, I completed a gratitude project in which I challenged myself to write a thank-you letter every day for 100 days. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. I learned that the power of gratitude is exactly proportional to how much effort you put into it. Here are a few other takeaways from the experience.
- Spending your days focused on the gratitude improves your happiness.
- Gratitude is as powerful as exercise for improving mood, as long as you go deep.
- Thanking people can deliver a sense of peace and calm.
After months of looking for, and focusing on the good, I felt calm and happy. I felt a “peace” that comes from having said all the important things there were to say to all the important people in my life. If I died tomorrow, all my friends and family know what they’ve meant to me and why. One added benefit were the letters I received in return. Turns out, people really do want to feel appreciated and deeply connected. They will write you back.
The project was long, intense and exhausting. Imagine adding an hour or more to your busy day, spent writing, finding people you haven’t seen for years, addressing envelopes and sending letters. At the end, I had achieved my goal. I had thanked everyone and was living in gratitude.
Shortly after my gratitude project, someone posted the letter I wrote them online. It had touched them, so they shared it. Then I got a call from a woman named Nancy Davis Kho, who saw the post. She was writing a book on her own gratitude project. She interviewed me for a long time and we discussed the power of gratitude. Her book ,THE THANK-YOU PROJECT, is being released in December 2019. I was honored and surprised to see my own project mentioned in her lovely book. One of the things Nancy shared during our interview was that she had written thank-you letters to the cities she loved. What an idea!
The idea of writing letters to things, as opposed to people, never left me. Last week, I decided to write another gratitude letter. I had been out running, trying to think of ways to inspire more people to exercise in nature. Running has always been an outlet for me. It has changed my life in numerous ways. Then it hit me. I could write a thank-you letter to running. This week’s podcast includes this letter, as well as tips on gratitude and motivation to exercise!
If you need inspiration for exercise, listen in. If you wonder about the power of gratitude, listen in. If you want to know how exercise can push you to face fears, grow as a person and be the friend you need during tough times, please listen in. I didn’t realized how much running had added to my life and helped mold my growth until I sat down to do this silly little gratitude exercise. I hope it inspires you in two ways; to start a gratitude practice, and to get involved in exercise!
You can listen to me talk through this in the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below or in the following places:
Shannon Connery, Ph.D.