Writing down why you're thankful for someone (either as a journal entry or a letter) puts his or her positive qualities at the forefront of your mind, says study author Ted Futris, Ph.D., professor of human development at the University of Georgia in Athens. The practice can boost relationship satisfaction even if you keep those thoughts private.
Still, separate research shows you can maximize the benefits by sharing your gratitude with that person. This is especially important during times of emotional distress, Futris says.
The bottom line:
Gratitude practices create positive cycles, Futris says: The more likely you are to express the emotion, the more likely the person on the receiving end will, too. Do it daily, whether verbally or on paper.