‘Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.’ Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Irish Hospice Foundation’s new project is hoping to get us spreading the love, or at least the thanks. The Thank you book which launched yesterday is part of the Thank you project which will build up to a Thank You day on Nov 25th…more about the project HERE
The Thank You book is a gratitude journal, a place to reflect and record the things you are thankful for. Reflections of thanks from a host of the great and the good are peppered through the pages and feature on a range of accompanying thank you cards – view the card gallery HERE
As Roisin Ingle’s (who edited the book) introduction addresses, this could sound ‘cheesier than a wheel of brie’ but there is a bedrock of scientific research which illustrates the mental health benefits of adopting a perspective of gratitude. Robert Emmons & Michael Mc Culloch’s 2003 article ‘Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life‘ in the Journal of personality & social psychology (Vol. 84 Is 2 pp 377-389) indicated heightened mental and physical well being in subjects practicing gratitude listing. Algoe, Gable & Maisel in the June issue of the Journal of personal relationships (2010, Vol 17, Is 2, pp 217-233) even point to gratitude as ‘a booster shot for romantic relationships’
The benefits of reflecting on giving thanks feed into resilience theory, our capacity to absorb the entire palette of emotional experience. A holistic approach, of embracing the light, the shade and the dark which is reflected in the hospice philosophy.
There are all manner of reasons this book will make you smile. The intimate little insights of the messages of thanks in its pages reflect on the subtle things which make all the difference like Christy Moore’s ‘That day when you stopped and asked ‘how are you’ it meant everything, thank you‘. Most poignant and charming are some of the submissions from the public, messages to husbands, wives and children, to pets and to care givers …for random acts of kindness and for the simplest of things, like the message from Neil Kelly, age 5 from Knocklyon ‘Thank you, for making me a kid‘
And if you’re in need of additional reasons to be cheerful ...the book makes an excellent present – so that’s christmas sorted.
For more on the Thank you project go to http://www.thankyouproject.ie/index.aspx or follow @ThankyouDay on twitter