I went to a Thanksgiving celebration yesterday.
I couldn’t decide what to bring…
A bottle of wine?
No, think outside of the box, Ed.
So I called on the great Dr. Bob Emmons at UC Davis, the authority on Gratitude, author of “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” and Editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology.
I decided that I wanted to show my gratitude by sharing my gratitude.
I spoke to Bob (and by spoke to, I mean emailed with) and told him about the early celebration and asked for one of his favorite quotes on gratitude.
Dr. Emmons is a busy guy, especially this time of year, with magazines quoting him left and right, so I didn’t know if I would be able to reach him. But I was optimistic.
I sent him a text message.
I then remembered that I texted him a while ago and he also did not respond.
So I emailed him.
He responded. Bingo!
So I rushed to Office Depot and had them print and laminate ten copies.
The night came and I waited for the perfect time to share my gift. It came after dinner.
I told everyone that I could have brought wine or dessert, but I wanted to bring something more lasting.
So I took out the laminated bookmark and told them the story about contacting Dr. Emmons, the gratitude expert, on the biggest gratitude day of the year.
Then I proceeded to read…
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
I gave one to everyone. It was a hit.
I said it could be used as a bookmark or put on the bathroom mirror. That way, every day can be Thanksgiving.
Wanna be a hit next Thursday?
Go to Staples. Copy my idea. Read it aloud to everyone.
Then, when you speak of me…speak well.
Thanks for reading.
“Gratitude gives athletes calm energy.”
-BOB EMMONS, Ph.D., author of “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”
This weekend is the First World Congress on Positive Psychology in Philadelphia. Most of the big players are in town – Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ed Diener, Barbara Fredrickson, Bob Emmons and many more.
One of my top character strengths is gratitude and Bob Emmons is the authority on gratitude in positive psychology from UC Davis. I caught up with Bob over lunch yesterday in Philadelphia.
Mr. Emmons and I had some great conversations about his work, my work, the Yankees, and positive psychology in sports.
Emmons shared a comment that the Dalai Lama once made, when asked if there was a such thing as “bad” happiness.
“There is something called ‘stupid happiness’ – that’s when a bear is chasing you and you are happy.”
I guess you can say that it is also when you are not getting any better at tennis and you are happy. Or you are not doing what you love and are happy.
The point is, no matter what your past or current situation, or your material wants, you can be happy now. It’s a choice. But you have to be happy about the right things. Appreciate all of the big and little things in your life. Be fully present in everything you do.
One of the things that has changed my life is my daily incorporation of gratitude. I no longer need or want material things to make me happy. All of my happiness is already inside me. And all around me. I’m enjoying every day instead of looking to my next vacation or the weekend. Am I happy when things go wrong? Of course not, but I accept them, learn, and move on.
I asked Dr. Emmons to give me one tip that athletes can use to improve their performance, using gratitude.
He said that sometimes it’s good to focus on the bad, or past poor performances. Losses don’t last very long, so don’t worry about if you do lose. Say you lose a match. You’ve lived through other losses, and you’ll live through this one, too. You should think that there’s nothing you can’t handle. If you lose a point, it’s okay, just focus on the next one. Be grateful for just being able to compete, win or lose. When you are in this state, you play with a relaxed focus. When you play with a relaxed focus, you win more.
For more tips on how to incorporate gratitude in your life, checkout Dr. Emmons’ great book, “Thanks!”- you’ll be grateful you did… http://www.amazon.com/Thanks-Science-Gratitude-Make-Happier/dp/0618620192
Thanks for reading.
“Reflect Each Day On All You Have To Be Grateful For And You Will Receive More To Be Grateful For.”
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Bob Emmons at University of California – Davis.
I think that I’m a very happy person. I don’t need gifts for my birthday or special occasions. I don’t need to travel all the time. And I certainly don’t need a huge house or fancy car.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have my problems, and negative feelings come over me just as often as anyone. But long ago, I found a secret that changed my life and today I’m going to share that secret with you…
YOU HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL.
Being grateful is appreciating all that you have in your life, big and small, good and gad. Here’s what I want you to do: get a notebook and every day, write down five things that you are grateful for. If you write them down at night, before you go to bed, I feel that it is more effective.
You can be grateful for your gym membership or you can be grateful for your Uncle Jim.
When you’re grateful, you don’t need a special occasion to make you feel good – you feel good every day. Life seems to slow down and you start to live in the moment.
And for you athletes, I may be the first person to tell you that gratitude can help you in sports too.
My friend, Bob Emmons is the authority on gratitude in the emerging field of positive psychology. The first thing I ever asked Dr. Emmons, was how gratitude could be applied to sports. His answer was…
“Gratitude produces calm energy, so the grateful tennis player should make fewer unforced errors and have fewer poor mental decision throughout a match, among other positive benefits.”
Emmons also feels that gratitude could help solidarity and team unity.
So write down five things you are grateful for. Do it every day this week. Let me know your feedback.
Thanks for reading.