My Thanksgiving Gift to You: Silent Gratitude

This is Wyatt, a friend’s puppy. He’s grateful for the simple things…like a warm vent on a cold day.

Before we all make the mental leap away from “work” for the long weekend, I want to give you a unique gift to take with you into the Thanksgiving holiday. I know, you’re busy, and you want to wrap up a last few things and race out the door. For my friends and colleagues outside the United States, you still have two days before the weekend. Everyone is busy these days.

But give me 90 seconds. It’ll be worth it.

Here’s what I want you to do:

Think of someone in your life. It can be someone close—a spouse or a child—or someone who recently brushed against your life. It can even be a family pet. Take just a moment and picture their face. Really concentrate on it. Close your eyes if that makes it easier (I’d recommend it.) Notice the color of her eyes, the waves in his hair, or the wag of her tail. When you have that image, hold it there. While you do, imagine yourself saying thank you. It can be thank you for anything—for being in your life, for a kind deed, for no reason at all. Simply say thank you in silence.

How do you feel? Perhaps the better question is, do you feel better than you did just 30 seconds ago? I think you do. That’s my gift to you. If you read no further, take that feeling with you into the rest of the weekend.

So, why did we do that?

If you’re like most people today, you’re probably simmering mad just under the surface. That’s understandable, isn’t it? If you open the New York Times or turn on Fox News, it’s hard not to let that rage roll off the screen and into your body. But to blame the media is a red herring. They simply reflect and amplify frustrations boiling in our culture today. What we don’t realize is that anger is coloring our behavior in many aspects of our lives—our mental health, our relationships, and more to the point of my research, our buying behavior.

You may have noticed it at your local Target, the corner coffee shop, or at the doctor’s office: Frustration. Anger. Rage. If you’re a leader, how do you cope with consumers on the edge, ready to snap at a moment’s notice? If you’re a consumer, how do you step back from the edge to get what you want from the transaction? Those questions take us back to the “gratitude” exercise I adapted from Dr. Amit Sood and Dr. Sherry Chesak at the Mayo Clinic. They learned that one of the secrets to dealing with someone else’s anger is to deal with your own first.

In other words: put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

Without those practical skills, both leaders and consumers (we all can play both roles) are woefully unprepared for the danger anger poses to the foundation of trust that underpins our entire economic way of life.

As we approach the busiest shopping season of the year, I can’t think of a more relevant topic.

But for today, I hope you used the silent gratitude exercise to recenter yourself, even if just for a few moments. Over the next few days (and years), consider using it whenever you feel frustrated or angry. I do. It has made a bigger difference than I ever thought possible.

And above all else, thank you.

About Jason Voiovich

I am a recovering marketing and advertising executive on a mission to rehumanize the relationship between consumers and businesses, between patients and clinicians, and between citizens and organizations. That’s a tall order in a data-driven world. But it’s crucial, and here’s why: As technology advances, it becomes ordinary and expected. As relationships and trust expand, they become stronger and more resilient. Our next great leaps forward are just as likely to come from advances in humanity as they are advances in technology.

If you care about that mission as well, I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in sharing your research, please take the extra step and reach out to me personally at jasonvoiovich (at) gmail (dot) com. For even more, please sign up for my mailing list for original research, book news, & fresh insights.

Thank you! Gracias! 谢谢!

Your fellow human.

Source notes for this article:

I’ve had the pleasure to meet both Dr. Sood and Dr. Chesak in person. They are precisely the kind of amazing people you would expect them to be. You would do well to get to know their work as well. I recommend it without reservation.

To learn more about Dr. Amit Sood’s research and practice, follow the links below:

To learn more about Dr. Sherry Chesak’s research and practice, follow the links below:

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Jason T Voiovich

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