This is the time of year when we all step back from our busy lives and reflect on what, and for whom, we are grateful. Gratitude is a practice and one that will reap huge rewards when exercised daily. I’ve read studies that demonstrate how gratitude can improve both mental and physical well being. Research conducted by Shawn Achor, and summarized in his Ted Talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work, concludes that writing down three things for which you are grateful, every day for 21 days, you achieve what they call the “happiness advantage.” He says that by raising your level of positivity in the present, you will perform significantly better level in productivity and creativity. He cites several examples where his team has documented significant improvement. One such example is that doctors are 19% more accurate in coming up with the correct diagnosis when they are happy as opposed to negative, neutral, or stressed.
The secret is to find a way to be more positive in the present. Achor says that you can train the brain in two minutes per day. He says that if you write down three new things for which you are grateful each day, your brain retains the pattern of scanning the world to see things more positively. Journaling one positive experience each day helps retain that experience at a deeper level. Conscious acts of kindness, like sending a positive email or a thank you note each day will not only improve your own happiness, but will help spread the happiness. If you’ve ever gotten a thank you note out of the blue from someone expressing gratitude for something you did, you know the impact it can have. It can make your day and keep on giving because most people save those cherished notes.
Gratitude can become a habit and the gift that keeps on giving. Take this 21 day challenge and see how gratitude can change your life. I’m in! Happy Thanksgiving