Story telling from Australia
I’m an optimist. If one plant dies, I know another will grow. There was a time when I lost sight of that optimism. There was no sign of a strawberry growing anywhere, never mind in the middle of my desert. A series of events conspired to make me miserable, and I did my utmost to add to that misery by staying in a job I hated.
I was working for the Telco giant, BT, trapped in a job that paid well but sapped all hope of being a writer. I liked the people, hated the job.
Put a plant in the wrong spot in your garden and it will wither; transplant it to the right spot and it will flourish. I was like a tomato plant, struggling in the gloomy shade behind a shed. Had I been a climbing hydrangea I’d have loved it. But I wasn’t.
The ‘gardener’ who helped me flourish was Professor Michael Hyland from the University of Plymouth, who randomly selected me to take part in a study on gratitude therapy. An email arrived out of the blue one day, asking me to participate.
Every day for two weeks I had to write down three things I felt grateful for. If I couldn’t find three things I was told to pick one thing, and write it down three times. Given my bleak outlook it was nearly impossible the first day, difficult the next then, astonishingly, it grew easier. Each day my mood lifted and by the end of the two weeks I felt happier.
On Tuesday I had a meeting with my publisher. Anyone else who has struggled for years to get published will understand why that sentence sings, so I’ll say it again. I had a meeting with my publisher. Halleluja!
Pan Macmillan’s address is Number One Market Street, Sydney, and I stood outside that tower block building for a moment and marvelled at the wonder of life. Number One Market Street is also the BT Building.
Life can change, and I am extraordinarily grateful that it can.
The study I took part in is finished now but I saved the workbook. I hope the authors won’t mind if I share it with you. Here it is if you think you might benefit from a boost of gratitude therapy. Gratitude Therapy Mood workbook group 2
And here’s an article on gratitude therapy.