Recently, I started following Upworthy.com, a social news aggregator that aims to make meaningful videos go viral. If you’re like me and could use a daily dose of good news, then I suggest you do the same.
I didn’t realize how much I needed yesterday’s pick-me-up message until I performed the experiment that’s described in the video below.
In the video, which is produced by SoulPancake.com a new media company co-founded by actor Rainn Wilson that explores “big think” topics such as spirituality, creativity and philosophy, scientists conducted an experiment to gauge a person’s level of happiness.
The study involved a handful of people who were asked to think of an influential person in their life. Once they had someone in mind, they were instructed to write down why that person is so important to them. After they finished writing, they were given a phone to call the person they chose and told to read aloud what they wrote.
Some smiled while delivering their messages. Some laughed because of the silliness of it all. Others shed tears of gratitude. All were extremely impacted by this experiment.
After hanging up, they were asked another round of questions to — once again — measure their level of happiness. The results from the pre- and post-experiment questionnaires showed that the simple act of expressing gratitude led to an overall rise in happiness.
I was moved by the video.
I sat down and wrote a two-page letter to the pastor of my childhood church, one of the most influential people in my life growing up. I then called him and we chatted it up about what’s been happening in our respective lives. We set a lunch date for next week and, before we said our goodbyes, I read him my letter.
My words are too personal to share publicly. Needless to say, I was fighting back tears of sadness, joy, and relief all simultaneously.
He thanked me for doing something so thoughtful. I thanked him for helping shape me into the woman I am today.
If you want a simple way to increase your level of happiness (I mean REALLY, who doesn’t?), please try this experiment. And let me know how it goes.
Heidi Woodard is a working-mom with three children.
Read her Thursdays on momaha.com
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