Thursday, February 20, 2014

Seeing gratitude in the age of the quick "tnx"

"If you have nothing to be grateful for, check your pulse."

That's what it said on the sticky note I saw somewhere, driving home a point that's been expressed in countless other ways but which can easily be done away with. Somehow, "count your blessings" just doesn't have the same impact (the inevitable fate of cliches) -- unless you're a 10-year-old benefiting from a teaching moment with your mom or your lolo and probably hearing the proverb for the first time.

One thing I realized a couple of nights ago was that listening to people, one after another, express their gratitude can lead to the equivalent of the happy hormone kicking in. I'm not sure if hormones "kick in" (oxytocin is what I have in mind) but I'm certain that if wires, adhesives and other monitoring gadgets were attached to my body, my brain would indicate lots of activity in the "delight area." In other words, I was happy! Here's what happened: I explored a dozen or so videos of acceptance speeches given at various Academy Awards ceremonies. Was I pleasantly surprised. I won't tell you more but let me share with you a few of those that I loved, whether for the actors' spontaneity, sense of gratitude, wit, or apparent other-centeredness.

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