In one of my masters classes, a teacher proposed a little ‘gratitude’ activity. Each one of us had to walk up to a classmate and express admiration or praise and the one receiving the feedback needed to respond accordingly, taking in the compliment and expressing gratitude. As there were more interactions, people wanted to approach more classmates. The air afterwards was filled with happiness, reflection, and inspiration. People had this particular spark in their eyes and it felt like motivation skyrocketed. A simple act of kindness has touched many people’s hearts and immediately we were on a different level of connectedness…
- When was the last time you said thank you?
- How many times this week have you said ‘I love you’?
- How many times this week have you showed that you care about someone?
Wake up people. We are social animals after all and there is nothing more beautiful but to share what you admire with your family member, friend, significant other, teacher, idol or anyone you have something positive to say to.
I mean, do you like positive feedback? When someone tells you how good you are in this and that? So, why do you hesitate to share that with another person? They like that too, wouldn’t you say?
Every now and then we get reminded of how powerful is the act of giving kudos & simply saying thank you to a person. I am of an opinion that we still do it way too seldom. So instead of going into ‘whys’ maybe we could set a constant reminder to avoid the human irrationality and act upon our shortcomings.
To do list – say thanks!
In your schedule you probably put random chores and obligations. You write them down not to forget them. And if you do them often enough, they turn into a habit, you internalize them and there is less probability that you will forget about it. I suggest a little tweak in your to-do lists. How about you start putting in your schedule things like: Say thank you, apologize sincerely, tell someone how awesome she/he/x is, write to an old friend, etc…
Scientific studies have found that people who express gratitude experience:
- Greater happiness
- More optimism and positive emotions
- Better health
- More progress toward personal goals
- More alertness and determination
- Increased generosity and empathy
- More regular exercise
- Improved self-esteem
The Taking for Granted Syndrome
Together with suffering stress, I feel like this is the second biggest ‘disease’ of the modern times. Failing to appreciate what we have. Most of us live a privileged life. We have a roof over our head, we are healthy, sometimes we travel, go to restaurants, possess valuable things and have support from loving people. There is so much to be grateful for. This list could be expanded to virtually anything. Even all different kinds of emotions and sensations we are able to perceive. Take a moment & make your own list and write down what you are grateful for.
Many people need to be deprived of something to actually appreciate it. There is a saying: “you don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it”. Skip that part. Start saying thank you right now. It’s contagious, you will make yourself and others a favour.
I never liked the following statement some often say: “Eat everything from your plate, there is some children who are starving.” Yes, there is and there will be, unfortunately. Eating that meal is not gonna make a kid in Africa have lunch today. Feeling sorry for others makes very little difference. What matters is the action you take after you acknowledge injustice in this world. Do charity work, give money to organizations that are really making a change, prepare a sandwich for a homeless person, do a random kind act and see what happens. What you will to is reduce that injustice. Act locally and do what you can. And yes, eat everything from your plate. Eat it because you appreciate what you have and it makes no sense to waste food nor anything.
I want to share with you a video made by a dear friend of mine, a kind soul that lighted up the day for many people together with her friends.
This read isn’t the one you want to consume and forget. Do something about it. Start today, write down whatever lesson you took from this post share it! Invest your time for good causes rather than waste it on irrelevant matters. Next post I’ll try to do on mindfulness which has a lot to do with this topic.
Sharing is caring guys :)
Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and well being: the benefits of appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)), 7(11), 18–22.