I run a group every Tuesday I call “Happiness Tuesdays.” Original name, I know, but sometimes you just have to call it like it is. I dig this group – a lot – more than any others I run, and so do the clients that continue to come back to …it, week after week, even when they no longer “have” to. The concept is simple, almost embarrassingly so. Every Tuesday, on a blank, white sheet of paper, they write down “5 things” that made them smile in the past week. That’s all: Five things. Then we go around the room, each person reading their happy times out loud.
When they first come to the group, the energy is heavy. It’s the end of the day and people are feeling “tired.” But then, something magical happens. As each person reads their list aloud, together, we start to laugh at the funny ones, sigh at the touching ones, and nod our heads at the precious moments we all relate to. The room starts to buzz. I see faces softening and tension leaving their bodies. Just talking about a time when they were happy…well, it seems to make everyone…happy.
Every week, I’m amazed to see the simplicity of what is shared. It is always the little things in life. Group members talk about the sun shining, laughing over dinner with friends, or their children running up to them after school to give them a hug. These are not expensive, out-of-reach moments. These are ordinary, everyday occurrences that, until we consciously stop to notice, we often take for granted.
Every Tuesday, when we are done, I ask them how they feel, and they always say….”better.” The people who leave the room are not the same people who came in. Now I have been a therapist for a long time, doing all sorts of “deep” and “powerful” interventions, but I have to say, I have never seen anything work quite like the power of gratitude. It simply changes people’s lives.
If my group members weren’t asked to sit in that circle and make the effort, I doubt that many of them would make the time to pause to consider what they are grateful for. But once they have done it, they feel … better, happy even…and that is all any of us want to feel. So, if you haven’t yet today, maybe take some time to practice gratitude…and you just might have a Happier Tuesday