The perfect Valentine’s Day gift

Would you like to make someone you care about happy this Valentine’s Day?

Would you like to become happier in the process?

If so, write a gratitude letter to someone special in your life.

Your letter can leave you and the recipient feeling happier for months. 

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Gratitude Letters

A few years ago I wrote and shared my first gratitude letter; I wrote my first to my Dad. I was a bit shy about doing it, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience for both of us, and since my Dad passed away a few years after I wrote his letter, the experience holds a special place in my heart.

I’ve been writing thank you notes for decades. I sent cards not just for gifts, but for experiences, past and present. I’ve written dozens of notes and cards to my aunts and to friends of my parents for their special acts of kindness to me as a child. One of my younger brother’s godmothers always had extra treats for us when she brought him a gift. Another of my aunts hosted weekly gatherings at her and my uncle’s farm each Sunday in the summer allowing my eight siblings and me to swim, dive, jump, ride, row, fish, and enjoy all sorts of other summer fun because they were willing to put-up with an ongoing stream of guests – our family and many others. Those Sundays were magic to me as a kid, and I wanted them to know.

Those letters and the memories they evoked are wonderful, but a gratitude letter is an even richer, more touching way to say thank you. Here’s why:

  • It’s longer – approximately 300 words.
  • It’s read in-person to its intended recipient, making it more of a gratitude visit with the letter as a hostess gift of sorts. The true magic of the visit comes from sharing your letter out loud and face-to-face with its recipient. (If you can’t meet in person, Skype or a phone call will work, but if at all possible go the in-person route.)
  • Dr. Martin P. Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology and one of the first and strongest proponents of gratitude visits notes the ritual is powerful, ”Everyone cries when you do a gratitude visit,” he says. ”It’s very moving for both people.”

Tips for making it work:

  • Write to someone, who holds a special place in your heart or who did something nice or kind for you, but you’ve never thanked, or thanked as much as you would have liked to.
  • Be detailed. Write the particulars of what you are thankful for. Let them know how their actions affected you. Include the whats, the whens, the hows, and the whys.
  • Let your recipient know you are up to something good! A funny thing happened when I read my letter to my Dad. When I finished, he made a joke about how I must have the wrong “Dad”, and then he told me he thought I was going to share something about what he’d done wrong – not right. (I was nervous about sharing my letter, and he interpreted that as seriousness or sadness. When I began reading from a sheet of paper he was sure there was bad news ahead.) We laughed about that, but to prevent any confusion, letting your host or hostess know the visit is well-intentioned is probably a good idea.
  • Leave a copy of your letter with your recipient. Don’t worry about making it too fancy, but using special paper can’t hurt. Laminating or a frame might be appreciated, or to others, seem a bit too much – go with your guts. Just don’t make the visit too much about what happens next with the letter; leave that up to your receiver.

The Ripple Effect

Another interesting facet of this simple and effective gesture is that it tends to grow and reproduce on its own. Recipients often end-up writing and sharing letters with folks they want to thank, and writers tend to write more letters to share with others.

Positive psychology studies show the good feelings can last for weeks, even months. I know firsthand that years later I’m still happy I shared a gratitude letter with my father. It is a sweet and happy memory, and one I can relive any time I want. Gratitude letters pack a huge dose of positive power!

Increased happiness for someone you care about is just a few pen strokes. Don’t let this free,  foolproof opportunity for joy pass you by – send a gratitude letter to someone special this Valentines Day!

PS This is my annual Valentine’s Day post . . . hope it inspires you to start writing to a special person in your life.

Whispers from our hearts

One of the sweetest reviews I ever received . . .

“patrice is awesome…she can ask a question that you think you have no answer for and all of a sudden she has changed your world by making you find the truth in yourself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

You have the answers, getting still helps you hear what your heart is trying to tell you.  Stillness and heartfelt inquiry will help you reveal your truths.  Don’t be afraid of finding the answers, if you are asking or responding you are ready. 

WTW Dandelion

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Reflect, Rewind, Renew

?????????????This weekend is our Wishful Thinking Works Women’s retreat at one of my favorite places – a Benedictine Monastery in west central Florida.  The Retreat isn’t religious – our focus is on reflection, rewinding and renewing our lives – but the quiet atmosphere and peaceful surroundings of the Monastery provide an oasis for contemplation.

Wish you were joining us, but more importantly I hope you find a way in your own life to take the time to retreat.  I truly believe retreating is the fist step to finding more meaning in your life.

Whether you choose to meditate daily, color quietly in a corner of your home, travel halfway around the world or up the road to explore your options and to listen to your hearts desires,  taking time for reflection is a wonderful way to get in touch with what really matters to you and to find new ways to take steps in the direction your dreams.

Find some time this weekend to sit and ponder what possibilities lie ahead for you. I guarantee it will be time well spent.

Warm regards,

Patrice

WTW Dandelion

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Finding your place in “space”

One more quote from Viktor Frankl that has improved my life. (This post is a Wishful Thinking Works from 2013.)

Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  Viktor E. Frankl

Earlier this week, I chatted online with a friend to prevent myself from writing a petty and knee-jerk response to someone else. Chatting with my friend, and following the tips below, helped me find the space I needed so I wouldn’t do or say something I would regret.

Later in the week the topic of controlling our responses came up with two other friends on two different topics. It’s amazing how easy it is for all of us to take the bait, verbally one-up someone, or feel the need to have the last word.

But with practice and lots of fun, flow, and fulfillment in our lives the need to negatively respond to life’s surprises and slights and the gentle ribbing or intended jabs of others grows less and less and our ability to find positive ways to handle touchy, hurtful, or stressful situations…

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A personal challenge

Oh so true!

Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want

Another inspiring Viktor E. Frankl quote;

Patrice Koerper Life Coach Speaker Wishful Thinking Works

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 

I love it when I figure that out early in the game!

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New Year Meaningful Musings

I hope 2018 is particularly meaningful for you. I am presenting on the topic today so it is close to my heart and always on my mind.

Frankl Quote Photo

 

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Capture what truly mattered in 2017

notebook-731212__180As the New Year rolls around it is way too easy to get bogged down in what we didn’t accomplish or do this year and to start making long lists of what we need to do in the 2018.

I think a much more rewarding way to start the New Year is to remember how wonderful you are by creating your personal WTW “Ta Da” List 2017.

I created the list years ago for a Wishful Thinking Works post and I use it twice a year to remind myself of all the good things – big or small – that have happened or that I have accomplished. Focusing on the positives and growth in our life is a great motivator and provides a stable foundation for future plans.

Why not use New Year’s Eve to celebrate you and what you have done instead of worrying about what you didn’t do?

Even if 2017 was your toughest year yet, you survived, and that is worth celebrating.

champagne-584072_960_720If you are alone on New Year’s Eve, embrace it!

Buy some bubbly, treat yourself to food you love, pop in a movie, read a good book or soak in a luxurious bath and savor being you.

Some of my best New Year’s Eves were spent alone – outdoors, reflecting on all the good things in my life. I sipped something wonderful, tasted something delicious and savored the moments.

As the New Year dawns, don’t worry about what’s next, just enjoy what is. You made it this far in life and have so much more to look forward to.

Happy New Year!

 

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