With A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers — topping everyone’s must-see list this holiday season, it’s no surprise that Mister Rogers himself is having a moment more than 16 years after his death. Mister Rogers first started spreading his messages of love and kindness on the television screen in the sixties, but his wisdom rings truer than ever today. Rogers’ “decency, and what we now might call his emotional intelligence, presented themselves with a serene consistency,” writes film critic A.O. Scott in The New York Times.
One great example of his decency is a speech he gave at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1997, accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award. Instead of just running through a standard list of thanks (“my manager, my producer, my fans”), Rogers took the opportunity to invite the audience and everyone watching to take a moment for gratitude. In a short clip that’s quickly finding its way around the Internet, he says:
“Would you just take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are — those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life,” he begins. “Ten seconds of silence — I’ll watch the time.” After a powerful pause, he continues: “Whomever you’ve been thinking about… how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made.”
Rogers’ words are a powerful reminder that it doesn’t take long — even 10 seconds counts! — to incorporate a gratitude practice into your life. And science shows that those seconds would be well-spent: Cultivating gratitude is a simple way to improve your physical and emotional well-being and increase your sense of happiness in life. “Over the years I’ve come to realize that gratitude is perhaps our most powerful and profound emotion,” says Arianna Huffington, Thrive’s CEO and founder. “Gratitude isn’t just a courtesy, or a matter of good manners. It’s our gateway to grace… It gives us perspective and allows us to reset and recharge.”
So the next time you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or simply want to build on the joy you already feel, pause in your day to reap the benefits of gratitude. You can mentally record — or write in your journal — a list of what (and who) you’re grateful for. Then watch as this practice transforms your day — any day, in any neighborhood — into a beautiful one… Mister Rogers’ style.
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