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Arkansas therapist launches project aimed at teaching gratitude to improve mental health

The Thanks-A-Billion project is all about how much a simple "thank you" can have a huge impact on someone's mental health.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — The last six months haven't been easy amidst the challenges of COVID-19. Not only are people concerned about physical health, but fear of what's to come can make it hard on our mental health as well.

Ken Clark, a licensed therapist in Little Rock, was struggling with fearful thoughts when a moment of gratitude recharged and redirected him.

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“We’re at this terrifying moment and the fear is impeding the ability to come up with creative solutions,” he said. “So, I started thinking about what it would look like if everyone started thanking everyone and what that would do to fear.”

Clark said that gratitude is important because it can change your mood and overall quality of life. It can also help eliminate fear.

“It really does pull us out of the primal functioning where we are simply trying to stay alive and it puts us in the beautiful part of our brain where we connect, imagine, innovate, dream, and create,” he said.

Clark’s gratitude triggered just that. He was inspired to find a way to help others through teaching gratitude. He teamed up with Ghidotti, a local public relations company, to create the Thanks-A-Billion project. It’s a 30-day campaign of 90 second videos all about thanking people in your life.

“We have videos about thanking the Amazon guy, or the co-worker who is the office clown that makes work bearable, or the person that gave you a shot way back when,” he said.

In addition to the videos, the project’s website has blog posts and other resources to teach people how to be thankful.

“It’s about the idea that one person thanking a couple people today can lead to those people thanking a couple people each,” he said. “Quickly, you're at billions of people hearing gratitude and knowing their lives matter.”

In the last few months, Clark said the campaign has reached tens of thousands of people from all over the world. He’s excited to ride the wave of gratitude as it continues to grow.

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“If we each just say ‘thank you’ more, it doesn't take long before there's a lot of us saying it,” he said.

To get involved in the Thanks-A-Billion project, visit: https://www.thanksabillion.us/about