“When we focus on gratitude, the tide of disappointment
goes out and the tide of love rushes in.”

— Kristin Armstrong —

“When we focus on gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.”
— Kristin Armstrong —

Have you ever sent or received a Gratitude Letter? A Gratitude Letter is more than a thank you note. It’s a formal letter that you write to someone who has had a profound impact on your life that you have not yet properly thanked. This could be a family member, mentor, student, friend or colleague. Reflect on the people who have helped shape your life — people who have taken the time to share their strengths with you, guide you or help you in a meaningful way. Now, write a letter that thoroughly expresses your gratitude — describe, in detail, what their role in your life has meant to you. Once you have written your Gratitude Letter, schedule a time to hand deliver or read the letter to them if that is possible. Something remarkable happens when gratitude letters are shared in person.

James Pennebaker professional photo

James Pennebaker

A pioneer in writing therapy, James Pennebaker has spent over 30 years understanding the impact of expressive writing on our physical and mental health. He is best known for his early work using expressive writing to heal from trauma. He has published numerous articles and books exploring the positive impacts of disclosing trauma on physical health. From analyzing the importance of personal narratives to the types of words we use, Pennebaker has made a career of helping individuals heal through writing, and influenced the exploration into the wellbeing benefits of writing gratitude letters.

The science is clear — pausing, reflecting, and writing gratitude letters can positively benefit both the writer and the recipient. Recalling past experiences through the lens of gratitude enhances positive affect, writing about them enables the mind to broaden and build and taking the time to deliver and read gratitude letters to the recipient boosts both parties’ wellbeing and has a positive impact on the relationship. Believe it or not, this one positive intervention can have lasting impacts on your wellbeing for weeks or even months.

People who engage in the practice of writing gratitude letters are more likely to experience:

      • Increased happiness
      • Boosted immune system
      • Increased positive affect
      • Increased life satisfaction
      • Enhanced gratitude
      • Stronger relationships