2 Exercises for the Grateful

What are you grateful for today? Sometimes due to the twists and turns that come in life, we can become so wrapped up in what we might be struggling with in our day-to-day  experiences that we might take for granted the things that are actually going well. By being intentional and focusing on the good, we might find that we have more going for us than we might think in the moment.

30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Here’s a pretty cool exercise on gratitude that was shared with me by a former Social Work professor of mine, Dr. Dalton Connally.

“I have a challenge for you..It is based on the research that Martin Seligman out of Penn State did. He founded the concept of Positive Psychology. Several studies have proven that if you list 3 different things each night that you are grateful for over 30 days, your happiness will increase by 10% . As I like to tell folks…that is the difference between an A and a B. Lets start tomorrow….who is in?”

I’m going to be giving this one a try myself, listing my 3 things down in a journal. Is this something you’d be willing to try?

Gratitude Visit

In addition to the 30 day gratitude challenge, here is another exercise worth mentioning that can be fulfilling to those who are grateful for help as well as to the people who are doing, or have done the helping. It’s called a Gratitude Visit. The basic parts to this exercise go like this:

0c4571480c36c0135eef80b8689d4897Think of an important person who has made a positive impact in your life who you have never truly taken the time to thank for that impact.

Next, compose a letter to that person, mentioning the reasons that you are grateful for them as honestly as you can. List specific examples of experiences, thoughts and feelings. From what I’ve seen the idea is that the more sincere the letter is, the better the outcome.

Once your letter is complete, contact the person that you’ve composed the letter to and arrange a meeting with them without telling them the purpose of the visit. When you meet, instead of giving them the letter, read it to them, or use whatever form of communication you can to ensure that this person fully understands the full gravity of the gratitude you have for them. Let the person know that they can keep the letter too.

Give them time to respond to you, and then let the conversation go where it will. I’m sure everyone’s experience might be different, but if it’s anything like some of the experiences I’ve had, there’s a possibility that the person who you have many reasons to be grateful for, may also have reasons to be grateful for you as well.

I have some specific people in mind for a letter even as I write this. Is there anyone in your life who you would like to give a gratitude visit? What are some other things that you do to express gratitude?


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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