365 Thank Yous: A Year of Daily Gratitude
The fifth book in our Aging With Freedom Book Club is 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik.
Why is John Kralik’s book about writing 365 thank yous included in our book club focused on aging with freedom? Understanding what makes for successful aging in retirement is our focus. What elements encourage joy-filled individuals and communities? One element is a heart of gratitude.
Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf. If you do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything. ~Alan Cohen
365 Thank Yous and Gratitude Studies
An article in Harvard University’s HEALTHBEAT journal reviews gratitude studies. One study asked a group of individuals to share gratitudes through daily writings. After 10-weeks, these individuals were “more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.”
The HEALTHBEAT article suggests writing thank-you notes as a way to create a grateful attitude.
John Kralik’s book about writing 365 thank yous begins around Thanksgiving time. John is at a scary, low point in his life. After a New Year’s day spent alone, John begins writing thank-you notes. Slowly, John finds his life begins to turn around. The book is a fast read about developing a thank you writing skill and habit as a way to deepen a heart of gratitude.
We didn’t expect a lot from the title of this little book, but 365 Thank Yous was a pleasant surprise. It combines a compelling personal story and a well-supported conclusion.
Expressing gratitude is good for you in measurable ways. This is old wisdom, easily dating back to the Roman stoic philosophers. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters,” wrote Epictetus in the 1st Century Anno Dominum. Modern empirical research and personal experience only prove the sages insight. Focusing on the positive aspects of your life, not the near misses or negative aspects, is the more successful choice.
Following the examples of this book’s author, may not ensure you a happy life but it will encourage you to write more thank you cards. More thank yous could be the start of your own journey toward a happier, gratitude-focused life. Who doesn’t want that!
“Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.” Roy T. Bennett