A gratitude challenge is a great idea but especially the week of Thanksgiving. You in?
You know how I feel about gratitude if you have been around You, Improved for a while. Gratitude is a very important element of my new book, Get Glad: Your Practical Guide To A Happier Life. So, I was all on board when I got a note from Kevin Evans, head of growth/marketing at Intelligent Change, the makers of The Five Minute Journal. Although I started writing my book before I got my first Five Minute Journal, I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t inform my writing and make it better.
Anyway, back to the gratitude challenge. So, the gist of Kevin’s note is this: take an extra minute to express one specific thing you like about each of your friends this week.
Now, this can feel weird at first. As Kevin wrote in last week’s email,
“What if my current friends think I am a giant weirdo and stop being friends with me because I do this experiment. What if they stop being friends with me because I told them I appreciate them?”
Well, the truth is, if they don’t appreciate your sentiment – in my opinion – they don’t deserve you as a friend. But that is not likely to happen.
Everyone loves to be appreciated. And the more specific you are the better for you and the person on the receiving end.
Science tells us that your gratitude has a more beneficial effect on you when you make it as specific as possible. Don’t just say I’m grateful for your friendship. Explain what about their friendship makes you grateful.
So, what actually happened when Kevin started his gratitude experiment?
What I received was overwhelming positivity. Of course! I received messages about how much my friends and acquaintances appreciated me too or that they were simply happy to receive a ‘thanks’. I also received many messages from friends wanting to grab a drink and catch-up.
All this gratitude came right back at me, just from taking an extra minute out of my day to let the people in my life know how much I appreciate them. That’s it. Even though these conversations took place online, I felt elated and more connected all week. With technology, we feel like we are constantly communicating. In fact, we communicate a lot but in reality, we say very little. “S’up/Kk/brb”. Can’t you feel the love? 🙂
This is the stuff we learn in kindergarten, yet as our lives get busier, we run on autopilot and forget what really matters: expressing our love for one another.
While I am not expecting myself to leave an insightful comment on every friend’s social media post going forward, it is valuable to drop the occasional, “here’s what I really liked about your post” or offer some encouragement. A random act of kindness never hurt anyone.
THE GRATITUDE CHALLENGE: Kevin suggests that you challenge yourself to tell three of your friends this week that you appreciate them.
If you accept the challenge, please let us know about your experiences. Now, get out there and spread the gratitude!