Start with spending a few quiet moments with a blank piece of scratch paper and write down the people that you are grateful for. Try to make a list of at least two people from the past and two from the present. This can be a fun exercise, so write down the names freely. Once you have a list, pick four and write down a few key things that you are grateful to them for next to their names.
Now, pick the first name and write a note of gratitude. It may help to write a rough draft of your note on a piece of scratch paper first and then transfer it to your "real" paper (or card!). Don’t worry if your handwriting is messy, or if your spelling is not perfect- that's ok. For a small gratitude letter, aim for about 4-6 sentences.
Begin by addressing them personally, Dear ____,
Thank the person for something (big or small), and let them know why you are grateful for them. Be specific. Including at least one personal detail shows the recipient that you really noticed their efforts and makes them feel special.
For example, instead of just saying “Thank you,” you would say something more specific like, “Thank you for having lunch with me and encouraging me to go to graduate school. The fact that you believe in me and urge me to continue to grow has made a difference in my life.” Again, being specific in your gratitude is very effective and truly shows your appreciation to the receiver.
Some prompts that you may find helpful:
- Today, I am thinking of you and how grateful I am for ….
- You are a person I am grateful for. I especially want to share ….
- I am writing to express my gratitude for….
- I really appreciate….
- Thank you for always being someone that I …
- Thank you for your advice on ….
- I sincerely appreciate the way that you….
- Thank you for taking the time to…
- I want you to know how much I appreciate…
- I am grateful for….
- Thank you for…
- Thank you for being in my life, you are/have been a blessing to me because…
End with a closing like “with gratitude” or even "with a grateful heart" and sign your note. You can hand deliver your gratitude letter or mail it (such as with the included envelopes in the Box of Gratitude). Feel free to repeat for any of the other names. Congratulations! You've practiced gratitude in one of the most effective ways, as both you and the recipient are given something.
Going forward, look for opportunities to thank others with a note of gratitude. Maybe someone sits and helps you through something difficult, or even just is kind when you needed it. There is nothing too small or too big to be grateful for. So get writing! Fill the world with appreciation and kindness.
With Deep Gratitude.
– Kristine Newell Founder, Box of Gratitude.