Recently, I caught a memorable episode of "The View." Deborah Norville, whom I recalled from her stints on the "Today" show and "Inside Edition," was a guest promoting her book, "Thank You Power: Making the Science of Gratitude Work for You."
I was immediately taken by Norville's self-assurance and passion for her message.
Norville is no Pollyanna. Rather, she is a woman who has discovered the value of thankfulness and wants everyone to experience the change that can take place when we embrace this philosophy. I was so impressed with the interview I was at the bookstore before the show had even ended to purchase the book.
In "Thank You Power," Norville sets out to use her skills as an investigative reporter to determine whether there is any scientific value to seeing the glass half full. She states her case solidly and uses the first part of the book to lay the groundwork and share reasons for why being thankful is good for your health, relationships and work experience.
Norville references studies showing the benefits of taking time to write out what you're thankful for. There are only two requirements: Be consistent, and have an open mind.
The studies varied as to how often one needs to do this, but the general consensus is that three times a week is a good place to start.
She helps readers get started by suggesting that we think about anything that we found uplifting or brought a smile to our face, and then write down why, making note of the people involved and why they are important. Just thinking about these things isn't enough; the benefit comes from the writing.
I believe most of us know that being positive is more desirable than being negative, but sometimes we need a little nudge, a reminder for how to actually be thankful. The second half of the book picks up with practical ideas about how to implement Thank You Power.
The benefits range from being better able to handle traumatic events, to solving problems quickly and more accurately. Even the television programs you choose to watch affect your attitudes and actions. While comedy is positive, watching shows where altruism is shown is more likely to cause you to perform good deeds yourself.
The book includes inspiring stories of people who endured horrendous situations and chose not to be defeated. Instead, these people focused on the good things in their lives. After reading some of these stories, I started to notice opportunities in my life to exercise Thank You Power.
Reading "Thank You Power" made me realize that I have developed the bad habit of saying thank you without any passion.
Just the other day, when I was making a stop at a local fast food joint, I caught myself as I was about to quickly utter my usual apathetic thanks. Instead, I chose to be sincere in my expression of appreciation by smiling and actually looking the woman in the eyes as I said it. It was nice to see her looking back and smiling in response. It's not much, but it was a start. This book is a reminder of why these kinds of actions can make a difference.
If you're looking for a book to read and you don't want to think too hard, "Thank You Power" may be just the ticket. It's a fast read, with short chapters and personal anecdotes about the author's life. The statistics and facts are stated clearly in layman's terms and not cumbersome or boring. The stories are poignant and meaningful without being sappy.
I can't think of a better time than now to read "Thank You Power." You might find yourself saying thank you more often.
And don't be surprised if you end up developing a new habit, one with the power to really change your life!
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.