Positive psychologists endorse several research-tested [gratitude] exercises. These include keeping a “gratitude journal,” where you record a running list of things for which you’re grateful; making a conscious effort to “savor” all the beauty and pleasures in your daily life; and writing a “gratitude letter” to some important person in your life whom you’ve never properly thanked.
These gratitude exercises all sounded pleasant enough, but would they work for me? While I’m not currently depressed, I’m very aware that depression runs in my family: I’m the only person-including the dog-who has not yet been on Prozac. So I decided to indulge in all three of these exercises over a six-week period, risking the possibility that I might become an insufferably happy and cheerful person.
Originally written for Greater Good Magazine, this piece is about a 6-week gratitude experiment in which I overdosed on gratitude exercises to see if they’d have a positive effect on my mood.