I’ve written before about the power of gratitude in our lives. Simply recognizing what’s good in our life has power. Writing it down even more so. And then there’s sharing our gratitude.

When you write a note to somebody who has done something special for you, it makes you and them feel good.

We often think of thank you notes as something we should do when we receive a gift, but letting somebody know that something they did mattered is a great reason to write. It doesn’t even have to be something “big” to deserve a note.

Brainstorm a list of people you appreciate, either for something they’ve done recently or for how they’ve helped you out over time.

Think about the friend who always makes you laugh, the coach who got the best out of your kid, the barista who plied you with extra coffee and adult conversation when you were the sleepless parent of an infant, the mail carrier who always makes sure your packages get out of the rain, or your friend who brought you soup when you had the flu.

Now pick one person and freewrite about these questions:

  • What did this person do that you appreciate?
  • How do you feel when you think about this person?
  • How do you feel when you think about what they did?
  • Picture yourself in the situation where this person did something for you. What details can you add about that experience? (The smell of the garlic in the soup they delivered, the warmth of the soup in a mug as you rested on the sofa, the way your sinuses cleared and you felt human again for the first time in a week, the taste of chicken and lemon and garlic, a memory of being cared for when you were a kid …)
  • Why does this moment stand out to you?

Use these details to write a letter to somebody who has done something special. Use details and story and speak from your heart. It doesn’t have to be long to be meaningful to the person you are writing to.

Draft your note (yes you can use a computer for this step), then write it on some stationery or in a card. Send it. Make somebody’s day. 

If you want to dig deeper into writing letters to share the things you really want somebody to know — or if you liked this exercise, but didn’t feel comfortable actually putting the letter together — check out my free e-Book, 5 Easy Steps to Writing a Great Thank You Note. You’ll learn a simple, satisfying process that you can use again and again to share gratitude for gifts and kind acts with the special people in your life.