If you don’t know what the Glad Game is, then, despite my best efforts to coerce you into watching it, you have obviously managed to avoid the 1960’s film Pollyanna starring Hayley Mills.
Depending on your point of view, it’s either about a little girl who’s so full of positivity that she wins the hearts of a grumpy town of misanthropes, or it’s about an obnoxious little brat who thinks servants should be grateful for Sundays and old ladies should be constantly sewing quilts for charity instead of lazing around on their death beds.
My feelings about Pollyanna are somewhere between those two, but the moral of the story is spot on; if you’re thankful for the good stuff in your life it makes you happier.
It’s SO important in life to be thankful and glad – I know that sounds like something a vicar would say, with deadly halitosis and dandruff, haunting your school assembly, but bear with me. It’s important because it’s guaranteed to bring you happiness in this life rather than necessarily redemption in the next.
Plenty of psychological studies back this up (if you can be arsed to Google them) but it really is just plain common sense; if you regularly remind yourself of the good things in your life, you will be happier because you’ll be more likely to remember them during tougher times.
It does sound simple doesn’t it? In that respect it’s a bit like “I just won’t eat cake this week and then I’ll be thin” …aaand I think we all know how that usually works out in practice.
It’s easy to be glad about all the great stuff in your life when things are going well.
It’s less easy when they’re not going so well.
Unfortunately it’s when things are not going so well that it is most useful to remember the things you are thankful for. Try to think of them every day to effectively “rote” learn the joy in your life, so that those memories are there waiting to pop forward when you need them.
Some people list what they are thankful for in the form of prayers, some write it in a diary, others repeat it silently to themselves during meditation. There is no right or wrong way. Strike that. Remembering how weird we can all be, I’ll specify, don’t shout them out loud as you walk down the street. That’s definitely frowned upon.
Here’s three easy rules; list what you’re thankful for, do so regularly, talk about things you are grateful for whenever you can. Basically, it’s the opposite of Fight Club.
What happens if you don’t? Well, you turn into a Kardashian. What? No, of course that’s NOT a good thing! Alright, better example, you’ll turn into one of those people who leave book reviews that start “This was the worst experience of my life-“ Those people either have some kind of reading-triggered PTSD or they’ve led seriously charmed lives.
Now that might look like I’m bitter about a bad book review – I haven’t written a book yet so if anything, it’s a pre-emptive strike, but I have read a lot of book reviews (because I leave book reviews and I’m nosey).
Life really is in the details. Celebrate and cherish all the details you enjoy, and in return they’ll keep you going through the tough times.
P.s. This is not advice for people with serious conditions like Depression. When in the grip of such things, reality shifts, and they may be unable to access positive memories, even if staring at a list of them on a piece of paper. If someone seems ungrateful, be kind, they may be going through things you can’t see.