Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Developing a Habit of Gratitude and Appreciation
Bill O'Hanlon, www.billohanlon.com

There are three types of appreciation:

1. Highlighting Gratitude to Oneself: Note to oneself things that one can be grateful for on a weekly basis

2. Savoring: Note to oneself or others what one appreciates aesthetically, like a beautiful sunset, a good meal, and so on

3. Expressing Gratitude to Others: Express appreciation to those people one values and is grateful to

Noting to oneself the things one appreciates

Some people do this daily, some people do it weekly, but developing a habit of gratitude and appreciation can be helpful.

One could note the things one appreciates about the day or the week as a way to do this.

One could also focus on the people one appreciates.

One could also note the things that others are struggling with and use that as the basis for appreciation and gratitude. Things like hearing about or noticing that others don't have enough to eat, don't have a place to live, are dealing with with serious illness or loss and so on.

Savoring the present
This usually involves attending to your sensory experience (sights, sounds, smells, touch and tastes) in the present.

Another element of savoring is not to multi-task. Do and notice just the thing one is involved in or doing. This might mean turning off the television or not reading while you are eating and instead focusing on the taste, texture or smells of the food you are eating.

Expressing gratitude to someone
Positive psychology researchers usually recommend writing a "Gratitude Letter" to someone to whom you are grateful and have never fully expressed your appreciation. They also recommend you be present when the person reads the letter. If that's too difficult, they suggest being on the phone or on a Skype video when the person reads the letter.

Try writing your own gratitude letter to someone. Be as specific as possible about the things you are grateful for and appreciate about them and/or what they have done for you.