October 8, 2018
Happy belated Thanksgiving to all my Canadian viewers! I just want to say thank you for all of your wonderful support over the years. I am so grateful to have such wonderful people in my circle! I recorded this episode at the CBC Radio Studio on Thanksgiving morning. I was interviewed by eight different CBC radio stations across the country to talk about the benefits of writing gratitude letters to people who have had a positive impact on our lives but whom we have never properly thanked. In this Juice I share a very special story of how gratitude letters transformed our Christmas and had a positive impact on a dying man’s last few months. Listen in.
Once again, so grateful for all of you!
The Importance of Expressing Gratitude
I was invited to the CBC Radio studios on Thanksgiving morning to talk to Canadians about the benefits of writing a gratitude letter. A gratitude letter is when you sit down and write a letter to someone who has had a significant impact on your life but you’ve never properly thanked them. Then you go and read the letter to the person, if you can.
Research has shown people are happier and show lowered depressive symptoms for up to six months after writing a gratitude letter. It can have great benefits. Many people don’t write gratitude letters because they think “people already know how appreciative I am” or that it might be awkward to receive a letter like that, but research actually shows that the opposite is true. It has many happiness benefits to receive a letter like that and it is not an awkward or uncomfortable thing at all.
A Story of a Wonderful Gratitude Experience
One year at Christmas, I was married at the time, we decided as a family to exchange gratitude letters instead of giving gifts. We wrote them to grandma and grandpa, they wrote letters back to us; we wrote letters to our children, our children wrote letters to us; and we wrote letters to each other. Then on Christmas morning, we all read our gratitude letters to each other. It really was a beautiful experience.
Sadly, shortly after that, my father-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Over the next four years, his illness progressed and very soon he was incapacitated; he could not move, he could not speak, he could not communicate with us. It was very, very sad.
The Christmas before he died, I rediscovered the gratitude letter that he had written to my ex-husband, his son. It was a beautiful letter expressing how grateful he was, but also how proud he was, of his son. That Christmas I brought the letter back to my father-in-law, knowing that he couldn’t speak, and I read the letter of gratitude that he had written to his son so many years ago. I wanted him to know that those words of appreciation, those words of love, and those words of pride were there and he had already expressed them knowing that, even though he wanted to, he could not express himself anymore. I remember my father-in-law opening his eyes and listening intently to me; while he couldn’t communicate but I knew in that moment he was happy that he had written that letter and he was happy that he had expressed that beautiful gratitude to his son.
I will always cherish that letter and I will always cherish those beautiful gratitude letters. If there is someone in your life that you have not properly thanked, that you know they have had an impact on your life, don’t wait to express your gratitude- do it now! Your receiver will be so happy and you will be happier that you did it, I promise you.
I am so grateful to all of you in my community who continue to support things that I’ve been doing and I hope to continue to support your journey of wellbeing. Thank you!