By Kristen Manieri

Deliberate Gratitude with Nancy Davis Kho

Here’s a question for you: Who helped you become the person you are today?

My guest this week is Nancy Davis Kho, an author and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, and The Toast.

As Nancy neared a milestone birthday, she decided to write 50 thank-you letters to express her appreciation to the many people who had influenced her, helped her, and inspired her over her life thus far.

The result was a radically transformed ability to feel gratitude and also a book, THE THANK-YOU PROJECT: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time.

deliberate gratitiude

I had a zillion questions for Nancy about her thank-you project and the book it inspired. It was such a fun interview and can’t wait to share our conversation with you. Listen here:


I created a free visual inspired by today’s conversation and Nancy’s book: How to Create Deliberate Gratitude cheat sheet. Download it here:

A big thanks to Nancy Davis Kho for being my guest this week. Head on over to daviskho.com to learn more about her, her book and her podcast, which is called Midlife Mixtape: The Podcast.

But before you do, here are five takeaways from our conversation:


    1. Nancy offers a blueprint for a thank-project. She created 50 thank-you letters by her 50th birthday. But you can create a gratitude project any way that works for you.
    2. Scientists have discovered that we have something called negative recall bias, which means we default into remembering bad things and to notice what’s wrong. It’s a tool we use to survive. But the best way to turn it off is through positive recall bias. When we deliberately look for what’s good, we kick in positive recall bias and start to wire our brain to see the good.
    3. Keep in mind that you don’t have to send your letters. In fact, you don’t even need to write a letter. Even thinking of someone that matters to you and making a list of what you appreciate about them and are thankful for will give you so many of the benefits of cultivating deliberate gratitude.
    4. Nancy offers an opportunity to explore what has made you who you are and who helped you along the way. It’s a journey of gratitude but also of self-discovery.
    5. If you do embark on a thank-you project, consider keeping a copy of every letter you write. It’s not only a keepsake of what you’ve written, but it’s a living reminder of who you are, where you’ve been and how you became the person you became.


See you next time. Stay well out there!

Subscribe to the newsletter