[five minute read]
It may not sound like much, but expressing your gratitude for a person can be life-changing for all parties involved—especially if it’s done through writing. That’s exactly what a letter of gratitude is: a physical document expressing thanks and gratitude to someone of your choosing. It’s a guaranteed way to induce lasting feelings of warmth and positivity, both for the recipient and the sender.For the recipient, receiving a gratitude letter feels like being "seen" in a world that often overlooks sacrifice and kindness. Knowing that someone put time and thought into expressing their gratitude for you makes you feel appreciated—like the actions you take and the efforts you make are worthwhile and purposeful. That in itself is fulfilling.For the sender, making a positive impact on someone you care about is inherently rewarding. Plus, taking the time to think at length about someone you’re grateful for can facilitate feelings of gratitude in other areas of your life. Studies show this can increase overall happiness and well-being.Writing a letter of gratitude is easy and can make a tremendous impact, yet so few ever get written. To help you get over the first-time jitters, we pulled together a list of tips to help you get from blank page to finished letter.
1. Choose someone meaningful.
There’s no wrong choice here. But before you go with your gut, take a moment to consider people in your life who you think deserve more credit than you give them. Though your writing may not flow as easily as it would for the first person who springs to mind, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You might surprise yourself with how much you have to be grateful for once you begin reflecting and remembering.
2. Determine the method of delivery.
How you deliver your letter matters. Gratitude can certainly be conveyed through digital messages, but there’s really no substitute for a tangible document someone can store away and treasure. We recommend writing the letter by hand, because this is going to feel the most personal. But if you’d like a little more time to pore over your words, typing it up and printing it out works just as well.
3. Think about the person before starting.
Before you begin, take some time to reflect on your memories of this person, how they’ve shaped who you’ve become, and the role they play in your life in the present. Popping open a journal and writing a few ideas down is also a good way to enter into an appreciative mindset.
4. Sit down, write, and overcome feelings of awkwardness.
As soon as you begin, you may notice you feel awkward about what you’re writing. That’s okay. Feelings of awkwardness are the most common obstacle to writing a gratitude letter, and everyone experiences them to some degree. But they’re a small obstacle compared to the considerable reward that lies on the other side. Begin by describing your purpose in writing the letter in the first place. After that, return to some of the memories you’ve already written down or reflected on, and go from there.
5. Ditch the perfectionist impulse.
Your recipient won’t care much whether you wrote a perfect letter with flawless grammar and finely crafted sentences. What matters most is that the letter comes from you, exactly as you are, with all your flaws and vulnerabilities. As long as the meaning behind the words is getting across, your letter can still have a profound impact.
6. Don’t dwell on the negatives.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing someone who may have hurt you in the past. But if you do, be wary of the temptation to sneak in jabs and turn the attention back toward yourself. Remain focused on why you’re grateful for this person. If you can’t avoid mentioning hurtful events, put them in a positive light. In what ways have you grown from them?
7. Be yourself.
If you can, avoid sounding overly formal. Try to write as if you were having a genuine conversation with this person, using whatever colloquialisms and mannerisms of speech that come naturally to you. The more your true personality shines through, the more genuine it will feel.
After you’ve completed and delivered your letter, don’t stop there! Continue expressing your gratitude for all you have in life whenever you have the chance. It’s a beautiful, fulfilling way to live.
Let’s Practice Appreciation Together
At Oats Overnight, we believe that a mind fed with gratitude is a powerful tool for personal growth. When combined with a body that is nourished by healthy daily rituals, positive change happens. We want to fuel your goals through a premium breakfast and a community of support that practices gratitude and mindfulness daily. Join us as we journey together.
And if you need to restock your supply, check out some of our new flavors. Have a subscription?
Login to manage your account.
About Oats Overnight
Enjoy the benefits of eating breakfast with none of the work. Overnight oatmeal loaded with superfoods like flax, chia, maca root, and 20g+ of protein. No recipes needed. Life Is Hard, Make Breakfast Easy.