Saturday, November 30, 2013

Counting Your Blessings

A Thanksgiving themed post today:

There has been a good deal of research showing that people who focus on the good things that have been occurring in their lives are happier and have follow-on benefits in their health, experience, and performance.  You can find some solid research behind this here

Francesca Gino and Adam Grant were featured on this week's Harvard Business Review Ideacast talking about Francesca's recent book and related studies.  One of the studies that she talked shows why it is important to look into the details - and this will probably resonate with everyone who read my first paragraph with skepticism.

The study they talked about (hard to get the exact reference from a podcast, sorry) found that thinking about what you are thankful for every day doesn't work.  They suspect that on many days, you don't have anything worth being thankful for.  So you have to make something up, forcing yourself to be hypocritical ("Gee, my cereal this morning was really good !!"). 

But when you do it about once a week, it really does work.  Over 7 days, just about everyone will have a couple of things to be thankful for.  And the shift in focus really does make us happier, more productive, better friends, and all that stuff.

So count your blessings, just don't force yourself to do it every day. Do it whenever you have something legit to be thankful for.