Welcome to Week 3 of ‘Building Blocks for Wellbeing’
This week’s activity is ‘Smile in an Envelope’ a gratitude and compassion exercise.
Expressing thanks and your gratitude is one of the simplest ways to feel better.
According to Harvard Medical School, research has shown that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater levels of happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
A psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania tested the impact of gratitude by assigning a weekly assignment to participants to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness. The participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. The impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
The video below ‘The Science of Happiness’ illustrates how showing gratitude is an important skill and impacts positively on you expressing gratitude but also the person receiving the gratitude and appreciation.
Expressing gratitude can be done is a variety of ways. You can look to the past (looking back on memories and being thankful), the present (not taking anything for granted) and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of if or how someone expresses gratitude, it is a quality that people can successfully cultivate further.
When we bring our attention to what we are grateful for, our own wellbeing increases. Moreover, it increases even further when we let the person in question know, and in turn it nourishes that person’s wellbeing also.
Smile in an Envelope: This will serve both the youth worker, the young person and/or the person who is in receivership of your gratitude.
Many youth workers and young people are experiencing an anxiety around today’s current climate from trying to emerge and resume normality after Covid-19 or understanding the larger global political arena. This Build Block is to assist this worry and serve in a time when a lot of the information and news is difficult and challenging.
Smile in an Envelope is done by:
- choosing one of the young people you support, a work colleague or a family member.
- You can use the Stop Pause Connect (week 2 mindfulness practice) to allow you focus on that person and what makes you smile about that person. Just something simple that you can share. The simple sentence of:
‘Was thinking about you and remembering this detail about you, made me smile….
‘How you always like your cuppa with our chats, I miss that smell now and seeing your face.’
‘If you need to contact me text/phone/email…….(give whatever contact details are appropriate). Stay Well (Your name)
- Or it could be something how they always use a certain phrase, or the sound of their laugh etc, just something positive that makes you smile about that person.
- This ideally is a correspondence by post with just that simple message and a reaching out. It is important that no other material or communication is included in the correspondence otherwise the object of the exercise gets lost i.e. no information of the current climate, no update on work etc. (it can also be done by picking up the phone to ring or a text message)