Did you know that Australians are 7 times more likely to notice a negative than a positive? It’s why the TV news and papers start with all the bad news – it makes us stop and watch. Unfortunately there is enough negative news to go around these days to fill most of the bulletin and papers.
To help correct this alarming fact we started The Thankful Plan. way back in 2016.
Since then my beautiful wife Fiona has had the job of posting a daily reminder for people to be thankful….and has done it every day for 4 years.
The Thankful Plan is designed to help us rewire our brain so we can start to see the positives in our lives.
Here’s how it works: for 21 days we wrote down three things each day that we were thankful for. For another 21 days we wrote down at least one thing for which we were thankful.
By the end we found we were naturally more attuned to the good that surrounds us. From a beautiful view, to a strangers smile, to the smell of fresh coffee or a loved one’s laugh, we started to notice and appreciate them more readily.
Further research tells us that we spend nearly half our time thinking about something other than what we are doing, and this mind wandering typically makes us unhappy.
The thankful plan process helped us be more ‘present’ and our minds wandered less.
Recognising the positive things and people definitely made us happier, and the people we say thank you to are happier also – it’s a win-win situation.
The Thankful Plan is simply a daily reminder for you to start to notice all the good around you.
I have thought about this since walking the Kokoda Track a few years back. I was stunned by the Papuan people’s ability to see the positive, and to genuinely rejoice in someone else’s good fortune.
My porter Bradley, would each day point to my hiking shoes and say ‘good shoes’. My initial thought was ‘I had better keep an eye on my shoes’ but as I got to know him, I discovered he didn’t want my shoes, he was just genuinely happy that I had something good. I on the other hand felt ashamed.
This was just one example of many where the Papuans would notice simple things in life that we didn’t.
By going to The Thankful Plan Facebook page and pressing the Like button you can start the journey to being a more thankful person.
Each day we will post a reminder to take note of something around you that you are thankful for. In the comments section you can tag a person, recognise something good that happened or post a photo for which you are grateful. Or you can just ‘Like’ the post as a sign you’ve taken silent action. By doing so you will take a step towards being a better, more positive person.
It won’t take a lot of time or effort, but I guarantee you the end result will be worth it.
We wish your family all the best in these challenging times. Try to remember that not every day is a great day, but something good happens every day. We just need to learn how to see it and appreciate it.
Nathan and Fiona
If you would like Nathan to come to your school or work to explain further how being thankful can enhance your life please contact us on 0439858758 or via email Nathan.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Being thankful is just one technique we discuss in our resilience workshops. It may not be the technique you choose as everyone is different. The key is to choose one that will help build your resilience.