Today’s Reading comes from Chapter 5 of the book Authentic Happiness and deals with the idea of gratitude. Simple gratitude – being grateful for the things that we have in our lives. Because gratitude sets in motion a chain of thoughts, feelings and events that can bring about a great deal of happiness and well being. Here is the exercise that Dr. Seligman describes:
Set aside five free minutes each night for the next two weeks, preferably right before brushing your teeth for bed. Prepare a pad with one page for each of the next 14 days. The first night take the satisfaction with Life scale and the General Happiness scale once again and score them. Then think back over the previous 24 hours and write down, on separate lines, up to five things in your life you are grateful or thankful for. Common examples include ” waking up this morning,” “the generosity of friends,” “God for giving me determination,” “wonderful parents,” “robust good health,” and “the Rolling Stones” (or some other artistic inspiration). Repeat the Life Satisfaction and General Happiness scales on the final night, two weeks after you start, and compare your scores to the first night’s scores. If this worked for you incorporate it into your nightly routine.
On bad days you may have to really stretch: “I am thankful that I got up on time,” or “I am thankful I did not get into a wreck on the way to work.” But no matter how bad the day, there are always things to be grateful for, every single day. Recognize them and be thankful for them.
Zig Ziglar demonstrates the power of gratitude, using the same kind of notepad technique, in the following video:
The message is simple: Gratitude can change your life in some cases. In all cases, it makes things better.
[Zig’s description of the woman in that story reminds me of this article, which came out recently in Forbes magazine:
I mention it only because, sometimes, in rare circumstances, there is a valid reason why people at work are miserable.]