A post on Linked-In last week really sparked my interest – the idea proposed was simple, but like many simple ideas the impact could be significant.
In our new found climate of talking about our hygiene routines the idea of singing Happy Birthday twice every time you wash your hands makes sense – but let’s be honest after a few days of you, your kids and every media outlet repeating it -it can get a bit annoying!
Now hygiene is important at all times and hand washing should be an essential part of our daily routine regardless of whatever virus we are facing – so this simple idea has the potential for long lasting effects.
What is it I hear you say – ok so it is the simple process of making a conscious gratitude thought (or 3 for extra sanitization) every time you wash your hands.
This is brilliant – not only are we giving variety to the hand washing process, challenging our mind to think creatively not mind numbingly singing a song on repeat, we are also infusing our bodies with the power of gratitude multiple times a day!
So why is gratitude so powerful – research has shown that those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives (Emmons), those who wrote and delivered letters of gratitude experienced large increases in their happiness scores (Seligman)*.
Gratitude is also thought to improve sleep, boost self-esteem and enhance empathy – and let’s be honest we could all do with a bit of that at the moment.
So whilst gratitude alone is not going to resolve the issues we are facing worldwide it can be a good starting point for supporting our own emotional wellbeing in tough times.
Why not try it for yourself – next time you wash your hands think of three things you are grateful for – if you are comfortable say them out loud or simply in your own head. And remember this is not about the goal it is about the systems we set ourselves up with for ongoing success.
If washing your hands can become the automatic trigger for your gratitude practice then that removes one more thing you need to consciously think about, and might just support you to feel better about yourself, more compassionate about the world around you and thankful for all that you have.
Happy Hand Washing.
Sources * https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/in-praise-of-gratitude fff