Gratitude is a powerful tool for increasing satisfaction in life because it amplifies good memories about the past. Additionally, no one person ever becomes whomever he/she becomes in life without the assistance, encouragement or influence of many individuals.As one proceeds through the lifespan, one encounters many individuals along the way-parents, friends, teachers, coaches, teammates, professors, employers, siblings, children and other family members, co-workers, mentors, and so on—who were especially kind, helpful and/or influential in your successes.Persons and events contribute daily in a cumulative effect upon our lives. Often, these individuals go unrecognized in formal or informal ways. There are many rituals, dependent upon ethnic heritage, religions, or such, for a diversity of “rites of passage” that exists throughout the world. However, our society seems to lack gratitude rituals, formal ways of expressing thanks to those who have done well by us. Think about the people in your life that have significantly contributed to you in some way. This can be a big influence or a small act that helped at a real time of need.Write a Gratitude Letter to one of these individuals describing in concrete terms why you are grateful. The letter is to be concrete: name specifics the person did for you, and exactly how it affected your life. Tell what you are doing now and how you often remember their efforts. Make it come alive.Be prepared to read your letter aloud to the person as an expression of appreciation, recognition and gratitude for the person and his/her efforts of support, encouragement, and challenge/inspiration for you during your life. If the person lives within 100 miles of you at present, call and set a time to visit. Once there, read the letter to this person. If the person is further than 100 miles, call him/her on the phone and read the letter to him/her.In your write-up, discuss the following questions:1.How did you feel as you wrote the letter?2.How did the other person react to your expression of gratitude? How were you affected by other’s reaction?3.How long do you think these feelings will last after you present your letter?4.To what extent do you think you will recall the experience in the days that follow the reading of the letter? How do you think this recollection will affect your mood?5.Have you thought of others with whom you wish to share your gratitude?6.How do you think this experience will influence, if at all, your current and future development?This paper should be typed and double spaced and between 1 ½ and 2 pages. As usual, do not reveal anything that is sensitive to you and about which you are not comfortable discussing.
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