This is the selfish and entitled society. "What have you done for me lately?" "I deserve MORE!". But some people are rowing upstream, by cultivating gratitude, humility, and service.
Positive Psychology has a ritual of gratitude also, called the gratitude letter.
Martin E.P. Seligman is oone of the founders of Positive Psychology, which studies what makes people feel good--happy and satisfied. Seligman's research (along with others who study hedonics or hedonic well-being) seems to imply that gratitude is a key component of personal happiness. People who are grateful about specific things in their past, who can easily recall positive moments in the past rather than evoking disappointments and betrayals, tend to be more satisfied about the present.
Seligman has devised a routine or ritual that everyday people can do to increase the amount of gratitude they feel. The process goes like this: You think of a person in your life who has been kind to you but whom you've never properly thanked. You write a detailed ''gratitude letter'' to that person, explaining in concrete terms why you're grateful. Then you visit that person and read the testimony aloud. According to Seligman, the ritual is powerful. ''Everyone cries when you do a gratitude visit,'' he says. ''It's very moving for both people.''
The gratitude visit, Seligman says, can be an effective way to ''increase the intensity, duration and frequency of positive memory.''
Seligman started experimenting with the notion in the positive-psychology class he teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He assigned students to make a gratitude visit, and the exercise proved popular among both the givers and receivers of thanks. This year, he began teaching the technique to hundreds of coaches, clinical psychologists, educators and consultants in an effort to ''disseminate this to the disseminators.''
The gratitude visit can also generate a momentum of its own, Seligman says. Those who are thanked often then start to consider whom they haven't thanked. So they make their own pilgrimages, as eventually do the recipients of their thanks, resulting in a daisy chain of gratitude and contentment that a Hallmark store full of cards could never produce.
More here on generating gratitude