Up for a self-help challenge? - Cape Cod Healthcare

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Published on April 27, 2021

Up for a self-help challenge?

Gratitude Letter

Are you up for a challenge?

You are given seven minutes, a pen and a paper.

Can you write something that can demonstrably rewrite your life’s narrative of happiness?

Science tells us that you can - by writing a gratitude letter. For the writer, this no-cost intervention that takes seven minutes has been proven to decrease emotional exhaustion and depression symptoms while increasing the happiness index. This one-week study confirming this effect was conducted among 1575 healthcare workers reporting a high level of burnout.

I hear you. A one-week study is too short. Do we know if the effect lasts beyond the first week? The answer is yes.

Another study, among healthcare workers, using the same intervention confirmed that the benefits were still there at the end of one month after the intervention.

Can similar interventions that focus on the positive side of life effect change that can last up to 12 months? Data now confirms that the effects can sustain at least 12 months. In this study, researchers used an intervention tool called “Three Good Things,” or “3GT.” Participants received daily links to submit three responses to the prompts, ‘What went well today?’ and ‘What was your role in making it happen?’ Participants could select the positive emotion that best fit how each good thing made them feel. They could also choose to share their Good Things in a daily log visible to other participants, and upon completion, were redirected to the log.

Between a gratitude letter and writing about what worked well in a day, it appears that we can begin to shine the light on the hidden gems of positives during this pandemic year.

My wish is for each of us to open our eyes to the silver linings that herald brightness just around the corner.

Below are instructions on writing the gratitude letter.

Instructions for writing a gratitude letter:

Think of someone who has done something amazing for you. This person can be alive or no longer with us and contributed to your well-being in a big way. Spend the next 7 minutes writing a genuine, kind and appreciative two-part note.

Part 1: Tell this person what they did, how it impacted you, and the benefits you received.

Part 2: Tell this person why it was important to you.

OR

Part 1: Tell this person what they did, how it impacted you, and why it was important to you.

Part 2: Tell this person what it says about them, that they did this amazing thing for you. You might include what this says about your relationship to this person.