Recently, I challenged my readers to dump their negative thoughts, which can so easily lead to negative and destructive behaviors. The assignment was simple: Write down ten things for which you are grateful. I even suggested that they send me their lists. My mail boxes were sizzling for days. Weeks later, lists are still trickling in. The responses were all heartwarming, but perhaps none as poignant as the one from Allie, a high school student.
“I am having a really tough time in high school right now and even though most times I have positive thoughts and attitudes sometimes it gets really hard but I usually catch myself and try to reverse the negative thoughts into positive ones. After reading this I wanted to send you my ten good things in life.
1. I have a caring family.
2. I have amazing friends.
3. I have the opportunity to wake up in the morning.
4. I am able to watch the snow fall.
5. I am able to go skiing with my friends in the winter.
6. I was able to be at the beach this summer for a whole week without my parents.
7. I was blessed to have a special person in my life that is now in a better place.
8. I have another very special person who is always there and I can always talk to about anything.
9. I am able to read great books.
10. Last summer I was able to have a dream come true and attend a concert of my favorite singer.
“Thank you for reminding me of all these wonderful times and people in my life. Every time I find myself getting negative I will try and remember each of these special times and people that God has blessed me with and that you have reminded me of. Thank you so much, Allie”
Not long after receiving Allie’s message, I picked up Deborah Norville’s book, Thank You Power. In it she presents the latest research on the impact of positive emotions in our lives. The influence of gratitude is quantifiable both physically and emotionally. Simply being thankful and making it a point to recognize those good things will positively change our lives. She presents scientific proof that we will be happier, healthier and better able to handle the stresses of daily life simply by saying thank you.
I hope Allie is reading this so she will know that she’s not the only one who was impacted by her willingness to be grateful for the good things in her life. Reading her message filled my heart to overflowing. Then I passed it around the office. In a kind of ripple effect, the Allie Letter touched each of us in a positive way. And now the ripple effect goes on because I know Allie has touched your life in a positive way, too.
Want to dump your destructive negative feelings? Start writing. Just ten things. And yes, my mailbox is still open for business! And while you’re thinking about it, pick up a copy of Deborah’s book. It’s one you will want to own so you can read it often. It’s short, easy-to-read and carries a powerful message—one that can change your life.
Question: Have you said “Thank You,” today?