3 Write a “joy letter” about someone important in your past or current lifeIn this gratitude exercise, integrative health coach John Evans, Ed.D., suggests that you devote 20 minutes to describing your relationship with the person you are celebrating, including joyous, wonderful experiences you have shared. “Recall how you felt, what you thought, what you said, what others said to you and where you were,” John says. “How do you feel about that person now? How do you wish to feel about them in the future.” The letter is for you only; don’t worry about sending it unless, after rereading the letter a few days later, you think it would be beneficial for you and the other person.
4 Pose the “if” questionIn 2008, Seattle police officer Kim Bogucki began asking the inmates at the Washington Corrections Center for Women a critical question: “If there was something someone could have said or done that would have changed the path that led you here, what would it have been?” The women’s responses were raw and affecting: "If someone would have told me that I was special.” “If someone had stopped the abuse.” “If someone had told me I’d never see my kids grow up.” As women wrote and shared their “What if” essays, they were able to experience compassion for themselves and for each other and to begin to heal. You don’t need to be in prison, of course, to benefit from this exercise; it’s never too late to identify the “if” that was missing from your life and find ways to provide it for yourself or seek it from others. (Look for the documentary “The IF Project” on the Logo TV network this summer.)