Two Minutes of Gratitude
    Two Minutes of Gratitude

    Well, it’s Thanksgiving week in the United States, so a lot of people are talking about – or, at least, thinking about - what they are thankful for. Family, friends, food, shelter, health are all common items on that list.

    Just this week, I listened to the Dan Harris podcast (10% Happier) where he interviewed Shawn Achor, who is known for his research on happiness, about the science of gratitude. In it, Shawn shared a two-minute-a-day activity that has helped people who were rated as “low level pessimists” shift to “low level optimists” within just twenty-one days. The activity is to name three things – NEW things – each day that you’re grateful for… and why you are grateful for those. When this experiment was tried without the stipulation that the items had to be new each day, there was no measurable effect, because people were naming the same three things every day (similar to my list above). But when people had to think of new things, they began to search each day for experiences they could count on that gratitude list. This helps develop a habit, and actually rewires our brain (moving from the survival-based danger-seeking outlook to the more expansive looking between potential dangers to see the whole picture). The benefits of gratitude go far beyond a happier outlook, too; for example, it positively impacts sleep, productivity, and creativity.

    Shawn Achor says that many people do this at the end of the day, but he actually likes to do it at the beginning of the day, when he brushes his teeth, to help set the tone for the day. My family decided we would try this experiment at our dinner table. While I was afraid that maybe my family might roll their eyes at another Pollyannaish idea by mom, I was pleasantly surprised when yesterday, Day 2, my twelve-year-old son reminded us it was time to share what we’re grateful for. Where will this experiment lead us? I’m not exactly sure, but it has already – in three days – led to smiles and laughter and, yes, more happiness.

    Wishing all of our American friends a Happy Thanksgiving, and all of our Tilt friends around the world an abundance of experiences to be grateful for!

    “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

    “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

     

    Link to the podcast: https://pca.st/P53s (I listened to 34:37 through 57:50).