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  • Writer's pictureLori Maney Lentini

Yes, You Can Buy Happiness and it is Free. $$$

Your investment can be time or money. The return will be gains in wellbeing and losses in anxiety.

What a few old men taught me about gratitude.

Over twenty years ago, I was the Human Resource Manager for a growing agency. Even back then before work place wellness and staff appreciation were a thing, I knew my staff were talented and if I wanted to retain them I needed show my gratitude. So I invited them to lunch.

Note: Work is the place where we show the least amount of gratitude to each other. Regardless of your role or level in the organization, remember to practice Random Acts of kindness and gratitude towards your co-workers. This is especially important as we are working remotely and connections relationships are harder to build and keep.

During that lunch at a nice Italian restaurant four older men at the next table keep looking over at us. When the waitress took our order, she was friendly and chatty. She said she was trying to quite smoking and asked if any of us could relate as fellow smokers. Later, I asked for the check and the waitress told me it was paid. I was grateful and confused. Who? Why?

Our waitress told us these retired men come in every Wednesday for lunch and made a random bet about someone in the restaurant. The man who loses the bet, pays the bill for whoever the bet was about. This day, the bet was about if anyone at our table was a smoker and who. The waitress had been in on it by getting the answer from us. Each week this group of friends practices a random act kindness, bonds and has some harmless fun together. I actually had never hear of an random act of kindness. But since that day, I think about it often.

Kindness and gratitude are the secret sauce to improving wellbeing, both ours and other peoples.

You don’t have to be anxious or depressed to want a happier less stressful life.

Showing gratitude or kindness rewires your brain and focuses you on the positives. As you cultivate appreciation stress decreases, relationships strengthen, mental health improves, self understanding increases, negative self talk and self critical thoughts decrease.

It is nearly impossible to think about anxiety and what you are grateful for at the same time. Positive psychology proves gratitude releases dopamine and serotonin. The good neurotransmitters while releasing toxic emotions. Here are two simple activities I have practiced over the years that make a big difference, give them a try.

Write a Gratitude Letter

Write a gratitude letter and personally deliver it. Think of someone who changed your life for the better in a big or small way. They must still be alive. Your letter doesn’t have to be long (around 300 words works well) and it should be personal and specific. Write it. Deliver it.

Pick a Gratitude Day of the Week

Pick one day a week and do five purposeful acts of kindness. Science shows if you do them on a single day as opposed to spreading them out during the week, the lasting impact on your happiness and the lingering good feelings will stay with you for weeks. Do not over think this one. It can be smiling at a stranger, opening a door, helping someone put groceries in their car, buy someone a cup of coffee, donate clothes or art supplies to a nursing home, bake cookies for an essential workers, donate socks to a homeless shelter, food to a food bank, toys to a toy drive, call someone who you know is lonely, leave an surprise basket on the porch of a family in need in your community, write a holiday letter to a solider, rake your neighbors leaves, walk your neighbors dog - the options are endless. You don’t have to spend money. Give your time or donate things you no longer need or use.

Today, two of those three employees I took to lunch over twenty years ago still work for me. I am blessed to have them. I do what I can to support their mental health at work and home.

Stress at work is on the rise. If you or your staff are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, consider sharing the article below with them. We are all in this together.


· Anxiety Insights: What Gets to Us and What Gets Us Through is available on Amazon Books.

· If you enjoyed this article, check out my website at .

· I consult with companies on implementing health and wellness programs with a focus on Emotional Wellness and Mental Health that lead to increased quality, staff retention and profits.

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