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Practicing mindfulness
Exercise: Gratitude Letter

Exercise: Gratitude Letter

For this exercise, you will write to someone in your life expressing your genuine appreciation for them. Access the full instruction in this article.


For this exercise, you will write to someone in your life expressing your genuine appreciation for them. This simple practice has been shown to have benefits for both the writer and receiver of the letter, though you don’t actually have to send it if you prefer not to.

In one study one group wrote gratitude letters 1 time a week for 3 weeks. At both 4 and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended this group reported significantly better mental health outcomes than the control group.

One gratitude letter is a great stating point, but we do recommend that you write a gratitude letter 1 time a week for the next 3 weeks. If you love the practice after that feel free to keep it up.

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  1. Think of someone meaningful in your life. This could be a loved one, colleague, or anyone you interact with on a regular basis that you appreciate.
  2. Take a moment to think about the things this person has done to make you grateful. Is there something you remember them doing or saying? What character strengths do you appreciate most about them? What would be different about your life without them? What makes them special and important to you?
  3. Write them a letter expressing your gratitude. Start with “Dear ______.”
  4. Don’t over think it, or worry about grammar or spelling.
  5. Describe your gratitude in specific terms, referencing the points you reflected on in point 2.
  6. Sign your name.
  7. You don’t need to share your letter, but we recommend it. Try delivering it in person or reading it aloud to the recipient for maximum impact.
  8. If you care to share how you felt while completing this exercise, upon reflecting about it after, or in sharing your letter with the recipient, please feel free to do so by replying here!

Thank you for taking the time to see the good in your life, acknowledge it, and spread it! 🙌

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This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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