I recently read an article by the New York Times on a new Psychology class at Yale University. It is called Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life which focuses on teaching students how to lead a happier more satisfying life. In the 2013 Report Yale found out they had a mental health problem on their campus. Over 50 percent of their undergraduate students had received some type of mental health care during their stay at Yale. There are numerous explanations given for this and the university decided to implement new programs and resources to confront the problem.
"Of all the "attitudes" we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing." Zig Ziglar
One 19 year old student described it this way, "In reality, a lot of us are anxious, stressed, unhappy, numb.." I would dare say that this is not just happening at Yale but at most universities, colleges and high schools across this country.
Yale had offered, over the years since the report, positive psychology classes but none as popular as this class with 1 in 4 students participating. They hold two lectures per week in Battell Hall, which was built in 1874-76 and was used for daily chapel which all Yale students were required to attend until 1926 when it was converted to a lecture hall. During lectures and through the various social interactions the students get encouragement when they do good things like showing gratitude, being kind to others, increasing face-to-face social interactions while decreasing social media, and procrastinating less. By reinforcing these good behaviors Yale is hoping to change the culture on the campus.
I can't help but think Zig Ziglar would have responded to this by saying shoul-dah never closed the chapel. But it is interesting that gratitude was one of the first and most often mentioned regardless of the different articles written or interviews given. Those of us that have followed the lives of successful individuals from the old school such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and Les Brown and those that have carried the torch forward, Tom Ziglar, Kevin Miller, and Brian Buffini in our personal and professional development have found that the one major characteristic possessed by the top one percenters is and "attitude of gratitude!"
Let us all in this journey to be our best self get back to the basics, starting with Gratitude. Bookend your days by writing down three things you are grateful for upon rising in the morning and three more things you are grateful for in the evening. I think we will all find a much happier place!