We’re all busy. Jam-packed schedules. Demanding jobs. Early mornings. Late nights. And we’re all tired, too, right?

So, when you think about adding another thing to your to-do list, you likely blurt out, “no thanks.”

But cultivating a gratitude practice is worth it—no matter how busy you are.

One powerful strategy?

Writing heartfelt thank-you letters.

In January 2016 Nancy Davis Kho sent her father a thank-you note, which he framed and kept in his office. That summer Kho sat in the same room at her father’s desk composing his eulogy.

She was grateful that her father knew exactly how much his love, support, presence, and wisdom meant to her.

“That letter created a moment of peace for me at a time when I badly needed it,” writes Kho in her beautiful, encouraging book The Thank-You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time.

A vast collection of research substantiates the power of gratitude. For example, Kho cites research published in 2015 in Frontiers in Psychology that “found that an ongoing practice of gratitude basically rewires our brains to reward us for the positive perceptions we have of the people around us.”

Sociologist Christine Carter, Ph.D, told Kho that positive emotions “reset the nervous system.” Gratitude, Carter notes, helps us to relax, feel safe, and feel connected to others.

Kho cites emerging research that suggests gratitude is effective at overriding negative thoughts. Studies also show that practicing gratitude can improve sleep, boost energy and self-esteem, reduce aches and pains, and bolster resilience.

According to Carter, “if you could sell gratitude as a pill, you’d be very wealthy.”

Still, gratitude, like other repeatedly recommended practices (think meditation), tends to get dismissed. We read about it so much that it becomes background…


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