The One Email You Should Write Everyday
About a year ago I watched a TED talk that outlined some very simple things you could do to make yourself happier. Some of them I had heard before, like exercising and meditating. But one idea that stuck out was when they encouraged everyone, to do one daily good deed, by sending out a nice email every morning.
Instantly, I loved the simplicity of this idea as well as its ritualistic nature. How often do we get so caught up in our own affairs and forget to reach out to the people who make our lives better?
And so, for the past six to nine months I’ve been writing at least one nice email everyday.
Some of the emails have been simple thank you notes to people who were nice to me. Some of them were to old friends to let them know how much they meant. And some of them were to people who I thought needed to hear something nice.
But each email changed the way I saw the recipient, as well as the way I saw myself. Here are some things I discovered about the practice of sending one nice email a day.
Writing Nice Emails Is Easier Than You Think
One thing that amazed me was how easy nice emails are to write. When I started this practice, I was worried that my emails would seem forced. That I would come off sounding inauthentic. And that people wouldn’t take me seriously.
But I found as I started to write my heart would step forward and I would able to write with sincerity.
I realized we don’t have to go far to find admiration for the people in our lives. Instead I found that again and again, I was inspired by all the amazing, kind, beautiful, smart, and talented people I’ve been blessed to know.
People Appreciate Small Gestures More Than You Realize
Often not long after I hit send I’d receive a reply telling me how much my email had meant.
One reply I received was from an old teacher who told me my email had come at a moment when he had been doubting his choice of profession. Another came from an old friend who told me they had been facing some hard times I had known nothing about.
And while I didn’t write the emails so people would thank me, each reply made me so blessed to have been able to offer kind words to others in their time of need.
You Don’t Realize How Much You Mean to Others
While I didn’t send these emails so that other people would appreciate me, I did receive many kind emails in return.
Best of all, their replies reveled qualities in me that others admired, but that I’d never considered a strength.
The emails I got in return helped me to really absorbed the compassion of others. And to see how our lives often touch others in mysterious ways.
And while it’s totally fine when I don’t get a reply. The bounty I did receive far outweighed the cost of a few minutes of typing.
Being Kind is its Own Reward
Despite the personal benefits and kind replies, the best thing I’ve gotten from this practice is a more positive outlook. Everyday I remember to write an email I find that it’s harder to be grumpy or sad. Plus it’s changed the way I look at the people around me.
Part of rediscovering deep admiration for everyone in my life has been to realize that everyone admires, inspires, and cares about each other more than you ever would’ve guessed.
How To Get Started:
The best thing about the nice email practice is how simple it is to get started.
1. Make a Top Ten List
Make a list of the top 10 people you’d like to tell how much you care or how much you appreciate. Pick people who’ll be easy and fun to write to.
Then every morning write a short email or letter to one person on the list. This short list will get you started and it’ll encourage you connect with old friends, acknowledge the people who have helped you, and get grounded in gratitude.
2. Select a Phase or Location of Your Life to Focus On.
After you finish your first list, it can be hard to know where to go next. I’ve found that if I focus my energy on appreciating one group of friends or one time in my life that it’s much easier to keep going.
When I first started writing nice emails, I wrote quite a few to my friends back in Nashville. I hadn’t kept in touch with many of them when I moved and I wanted to reach out and reconnect. Eventually I had written to most of my closet friends from my old how town.
By focusing on my friends in Nashville, not only was it easier for me to pick subjects, it was easier for me to connect with and remember all the things I loved about those friends and those times in my life.
3. Go All Willy Nilly
Eventually a day will come where you aren’t sure whom you should write to. When this happens I usually just go into my contact list or onto my friends page on Facebook and pick someone at random.
While this can be harder, I’ve found that by going on and looking with an open heart, I often find people to express kindness to that I might normally miss.
This method has helped me write emails to long lost college friends and even to fellow employees from jobs I can hardly remember. But each time I’ve been glad to realize how even these small players of my small life have had an impact on who I am.
There are so many things we can and do spend time on. And it can be easy to believe that sending a nice email a day is a silly or pointless exercise.
But what I’ve discovered is that despite all the Upworthy posts and the touching YouTube videos so many of us are starved for real personal appreciation.
And this simple act of sending a nice email not only offers a true blessing to the world, but it is one of the easiest ways to make everyday I little better.
So I invite you to try it. Close this post and open up a composition widow, and send a email to someone you love. Then come back and tell me how it went. I promise it’s an amazing way to begin your day.