If you try this, let me know how it goes.
I’m not sure where I first came across this “experiment,” but I’ve used this idea in several group settings with notable results. This activity can be conducted in several different ways, but here’s how I used it.
At the end of a group session, as a closing ritual, I gave the following instructions to the members:
- We will take turns and each of us will look at one group member, say his/her name out loud, and then say “I wish you health and happiness.” (Example: Robert starts by looking at Susan, and saying, “Susan I wish you health and happiness.”)
- The recipient thanks the person by name. (Example: Susan says, “Thank you Robert.”)
- Susan selects another member, says the person’s name, and repeats, “Jane, I wish you health and happiness.”
- Jane says, “Thank you Susan,” and proceeds to greet another member.
- By the end of the activity, everyone, including group leaders, will have had the opportunity to deliver the greeting and also receive the greeting.
Wherever I had used this activity, I’ve noticed a change in the demeanor of the group members. People seemed engaged, while smiling warmly at each other, and reported feeling their spirits lifted.
I think it would be wonderful for parents to suggest to their children to use this activity when saying goodbye at a family gathering. What grandparent wouldn’t love to hear a grandchild say, “Grandpa, I wish you health and happiness.” Parents could encourage their kids to observe and discuss any reactions they noticed when they used this greeting, and how it made the kids feel to deliver it.
This activity can also be used in a before and after situation. Ask group members “who feels depressed or down today?” and record the responses. Then conduct the activity. Ask again how many people feel down or depressed, and see if the numbers have changed.
I found this idea on a website by John Suler, Ph.D. at Rider University, where he describes his “experiment” in more detail.
For now, I wish you health and happiness.