The biggest problem with reading all the self-help literature is that so much of it is just ideas with very little real evidence to back it up.
Fortunately there are some notable exceptions.
But first, take a moment to do a bit of a self-assessment.
Do you want to have any of these changes in your life…?
– Better feelings about your life as a whole,
– More optimism about your expectations for the upcoming week.
– More regularly helping others if they have a personal problem or need emotional support.
– Fewer physical complaints.
– More exercise happening in your life automatically.
– Improved amounts of sleep and quality of sleep.
– And improvements in your well-being big enough that those closest to you notice it too.
Here’s a proven self help way to get all these results.
In a series of 3 studies back in 2003 researchers Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough found that all these can be produced by doing a simple task for just 5 minutes each day over 3 weeks (or a couple of months if you want the exercise and physical benefits.)
Take a pad or diary and follow these instructions they gave study participants:
“There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful about. Think back over the past week and write down on the lines below up to five things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for.”
In the study some examples of gratitude-inducing experiences participants gave included: “waking up this morning,” “the generosity of friends,” “to God for giving me determination,” “for wonderful parents,” “to the Lord for just another day,” and “to the Rolling Stones.” (These were after all college students.)
Gratitude is such a simple activity.
It means acknowledging that we are blessed or advantaged in ways that have nothing to do with our own efforts.
If you are in the US and reading this on Thanksgiving Day then it may be even more important than it is for others to begin this gratitude diary starting today.
Self help doesn’t have to be hard. It’s available and ready when you are. You can count on it.
-Dr Martin Russell