Nina London

The many and powerful benefits of gratitude

  • Grateful moment: Nina London, right, and Chahida Ousseim step out (Photograph supplied)

Only three weeks before Christmas!

During these days I look back and reflect on the last year.

I try to recall all the good things that happened and what interesting and kind people I met along the way.

In the course of that, I began thinking about one of the most wonderful feelings in the world, gratitude.

It is wonderful to receive good things in life, but also to thank from the heart.

Look for warm and sincere words for those that have been kind or generous to you, but do not stop there.

Make time to actually say them directly; either in person, on the phone, or by video chat.

E-mail can be good, but it is no substitute for the sound of your voice. This intimacy is a tremendous force that helps restore the delicate balance between give and take.

Expressing gratitude feeds both souls; the giver and the receiver. I recently learnt about an interesting experiment that measured the power of gratitude.

First, a group of people were tested for how happy they felt in a moment.

Then, each person was asked to write words of gratitude to someone special: a mother, a father, a friend, a colleague, a husband, a child.

Then, they were given a mobile phone and asked to call that person and say to them exactly what they wrote. The reactions of the people that received a call were dramatic.

During these unforeseen conversations some people cried, some laughed; a few were embarrassed, but obviously very pleased. After the conversations were over, the callers were tested again for their level of happiness.

Those people who were able to express their gratitude in person had an increase in happiness of 20 per cent.

Those that were unable to reach their friends or family and left a message, no matter how heartfelt or detailed, only saw an increase of 4 per cent in their level of happiness!

Expressing their appreciation in a conversation not only delighted the other person, but it made the caller much happier.

For the recent birthday party of my dear friend Chahida Ousseimi, I wrote my words of appreciation and gratitude.

During our lunch, I made a toast. I told her how much I value her in my life, that I clearly see her beautiful spirit, and I treasure our meaningful conversations.

I recalled the long walks we shared together, deep in discussion about meditation, art, rare books and fascinating cultures.

I thanked her for supporting me in all my efforts to achieve success, and for helping me connect with my true self.

She was taken by surprise and very touched.

As I saw her tears of happiness, my own heart soared, and I knew in that instant it is true that to give is to receive.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom,” wrote French novelist Marcel Proust.

Let the Christmas spirit open our hearts!

Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com