I hope you all stay safe and comfortable.

November, the month we most associate with reflecting on gratitude, has come and gone. On Thanksgiving, maybe you and your family came around the table (or zoom!) And shared what you were thankful for.

But why let our feelings of appreciation there?

We know that gratitude is good for us all year long, and numerous studies have found that taking time to focus on the things we are grateful for can lead to better emotional and mental health, stronger relationships with others, and may even positively affect our physical well-being. 

There are many ways to highlight the things we appreciate in our lives, the technique that I will talk about today is one that can help others feel good too.

The Gottman Institute, a research and training organization that focuses on helping people improve their relationships, introduced me to the concept of letter writing.

A central strategy that the Gottman Institute highlights for enhancing our connections with others is creating a culture of appreciation and gratitude within our relationships.

While there are numerous ways to do this, letter writing feels especially appropriate during a time when we may not be able to see everyone we care about face to face.

Writing these letters can get us out of our own heads and into others, which feels good.

Letters of thanks can be written to anyone; your partner, a helpful co-worker, your favorite supermarket cashier, an author whose work has thrilled you, a relative on the other side of the world, the friendliest elevator operator on the mountain, your neighbor … anyone!

When writing these letters, it helps to be specific.

What do you appreciate about this person?

How do they make you feel?

Have you done something (big or small) that has benefited your life?

Write it down and send it. Not only will it feel good to develop your own gratitude, but reading your note will likely brighten the recipient’s day as well.

Give it a try and if it feels good, make it part of your weekly routine.

This is a challenging time for all of us, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support. I can be reached by calling the Telluride Medical Center at 970-728-3848, or if you are a patient of Telluride Medical Center, by messaging me through the Telluride Medical Center portal.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call The Center for Mental Health’s crisis line at 970.252.6220.

Be well,

Lindsay Wright

Lindsay Wright | Behavioral Health
Telluride Medical Center