Send just one letter of appreciation to someone who has never been properly thanked and the feel-good benefits could last up to a month. Write in a gratitude journal every day for 10 weeks and you will likely feel more optimistic about your life and visit your physician less often. If you’re a manager and you take the time to say thank you to your employees you’ll find they’ll be motivated to work harder. That’s according to research at Harvard Medical School (“In Praise of Gratitude”).
In the new movie “About Time” starring Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, the main character, Tim, has the special ability to repeat days in his life. In one scene, he climbs into bed at night and tells his wife he’s had a bad day. But on the replay, each formerly negative moment in his day becomes an opportunity for him to bring out the good. He jams to a fellow commuter’s (annoying) loud music, makes light of a tense situation at the office and takes in the beauty around him instead of rushing because he’s late to work. This time when his wife asks him about his day he says, “It was great!”
That’s what gratitude does. It causes us to pause for the good. It prompts us to see the day’s events in 20/20 clarity and reminds us to focus on the white space rather than the lone black dot on the canvas that is our life. While we may not be time travelers like Tim, gratitude turns us back to the past and puts the emphasis on the good in our lives. And that is a perspective that can bring healing. Continue reading