This Father's Day my kids did themselves proud and I felt a real sense of gratitude. Heartfelt cards, Green and Black's Maya Gold orange chocolate and a monster packet of wine gums. For breakfast, I was treated to oak smoked bacon muffins and fresh orange juice. Lovely.
Best of all, however, was a stainless steel, personalised guitar pick. How cool is that?
I do play the guitar (badly) so this was a really lovely present. But it resonated further than that and if you've been on my Wellbeing training day you'll know why.
Take Your Pick
The Plectrum of Gratitude is a great little wellbeing technique that I gift to everyone on the course. I hand out a brightly coloured guitar pick to each person and offer these simple instructions.
- Put the plectrum somewhere where you'll come across it five, six or seven times a day. Maybe in your pocket, car dashboard, wallet or your purse.*
- Every time you come across it you'll be slightly surprised. Not that surprised, obviously, it was you that put it there. But surprised enough to stop in your tracks for just a moment, and so at that moment, I want you to redirect your current thought and focus on something that you're grateful about. It can be anything at all.
And that's it. That's the technique.
Gratitude Brainwashing, (but in a good way)
How many of us already take the opportunity to focus on something we're grateful for five, six or seven times a day? I doubt many could say it's a habit. The Plectrum of Gratitude helps to change that.
As the days and weeks go by, slowly and subtly, you begin to redirect your focus onto what's going right in your world. You start to notice that there's an awful lot that is good. Maybe more than you realised.
"What sort of things should I focus on?" is a question that people ask.
Whatever you want. You don't have to focus on the big-ticket items. It can be enough that there was jam in the pot this morning for your toast. It just needs to be something easy and frictionless to redirect your focus on to something you can be thankful for.
Ch Ch Ch Changes
As you begin to ingrain this habit the ease and speed at which you notice good stuff increases.
The frequency increases too because you start to habitualise the process. It starts occurring even when the plectrum is nowhere in sight.
If you haven't got a plectrum don't worry. I use those because they are small, bright, light, colourful and cheap. Because most people don't play the guitar it stands out.
You could use whatever you want as long as it is small, unobtrusive and will stop you in your tracks.
- A small polished stone
- An old coin
- A child's first tooth**
- A key
- A bead
Use whatever you like and enjoy the process as your focus redirects and gratitude becomes ingrained as a habit.
Want to learn more simple and easy to implement wellbeing ideas like the plectrum of gratitude?
You'll be delighted to learn that Iain runs Wellbeing At Work as an open course in London. Find out more and get your tickets here.
*there are certain people who should not put the plectrum in their wallet or purse because it will never been seen again. You know who you are.
** probably best if it's your own child's tooth. And maybe wait for it to come out naturally.