The Real Secret is a different kind of self help. We debunk the empty promises of so many books and DVDs and bring you a simple, sensible approach to real life fulfillment. We don't believe you can achieve happiness, or anything else, by simply wishing for, thinking about or visualising it. Our book - and this blog - takes only the best of what really works and turns it into a positive, practical 12-step programme that will enable you to take control of your life and raise your happiness levels.

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The Real Secret is simple, sensible, scientifically supported self help
by Lucy McCarraher & Annabel Shaw


Mothers' Day and the Thank You Letter

For all that Mothers' Day, or Mothering Sunday, has become commercialised, it offers most of us a great opportunity to reflect gratefully on the contribution our mothers have made to our lives and happiness, and to thank them for it.

Sizzla (above) turned his thanks into a song, but a card, gift or gesture will carry the same weight for those of us less artistically gifted - both for the recipient of our thanks and, indeed, for ourselves.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
G.K. Chesterton, writer (1874-1936)

Counting your blessings, or consciously feeling appreciation, thankfulness or wonder, has been shown to raise levels of happiness in a wide range of psychological research projects.

"The Thank You Letter" is a Happiness Habit taken from research in Positive Psychology, like “Three Good Things which is part of our Happiness Habits Experiment. "The Thank You Letter"  is another of Professor Martin Seligman’s “ happiness interventions” that demonstrably raised happiness levels in volunteers who took part in the project and produced the highest levels of subsequent positive emotion for a month afterwards. (If you do this once every month, you can look forward to seriously improved levels of joy and contentment.)
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
Voltaire (1694-1778)

Mother's Day is a great incentive to try this one out. The task is to write a letter to someone you know - in this case your mum - thanking them for their contribution to making your life happier.

That’s it. Simple? But effective!

You might decide you want to tell or show the person some or all of the things you have written about them, but that is not part of this Habit as we present it in Step 12 of The Real Secret. It may not be possible to give a Thank You Letter to someone who is no longer part of your life, or has passed away. In general, though, we suggest that before you do so, you think carefully about the timing and context in order not to embarrass or overwhelm the recipient, or even appear too gushing or insincere yourself.

On Mothers' Day, though, timing and context works perfectly if it is possible to give or send your Thank You Letter to your mum. It should bring happiness to her and, in a virtuous circle, her happiness will return still more pleasure to you. In fact by doing this you will also be carrying out our Happiness Habit No 4, Spreading Happiness.

Two Happiness Habits for the price of one. Happy Mothers' Day!

posted by Lucy

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