Wordy Wednesday: gratitude
Happy New Year, everybody! I thought I’d give gratitude the starring role in this Wordy Wednesday, as I’m feeling incredibly grateful for all sorts of things at the moment. My lovely friend Erin sent me this picture she took of me last night as we watched London’s spectacular firework display from a friend’s boat on the Thames, and it captures how happy I was to be in that place, at that moment ,with such a special bunch of people – something I’m incredibly grateful for… I’ve also just spent Christmas surrounded by my family and other loved ones, and I’m incredibly grateful for that too, and for having them in my life.
I’ve always believed that an attitude of gratitude is one of the keys to a happy life, and it’s now been scientifically proven to have a positive effect on one’s levels of happiness. I’ve used it myself: a few years ago, if my step daughter was feeling grumpy, I’d challenge her to a rapid-fire, one minute gratitude list-making exercise: the idea being to shout out as many things as we were grateful for as we could. (Specificity is key to this, by the way, so not just ‘friends’ but ‘Jane and Edgar and Fred and Ruth’, and not just ‘my pets’ but their names, and it’s also good to include all the different aspects of yourself you’re grateful for, such as intelligence, hearing, sight, touch, taste etc, plus tthe things you love to do, and the places you love to visit.) We always ran on for far longer than 60 seconds, and she was always much happier afterwards.
grat·i·tude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness…
And then this evening I came across this fascinating TED talk by gamer Jane McGonigal,who, finding herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, came up with a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter, which is now helping seriously ill people improve the quality and even the length of their lives. And, guess what? Gratitude is an essential part of it. (By the way, TED, a free source of fascinating insights and wise words, is one of the many things I’m enormously grateful for…)
McGonigal promises to give those at her talk an extra 7.6 minutes of life (and proves it, using maths), so this is my New Year’s wish for you: that you watch the talk, gain those precious extra minutes, and do something wonderful with them…
Happy New Year!