Welcome to November, a month all about Gratitude!
This theme goes far beyond please and thank you. Gratitude is better viewed as a philosophy to navigate your life. It allows us to feel that what we have is enough, allowing us to operate daily life from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jennifer Lioy is a graphic designer, illustrator, and feelings-haver based in Austin, TX. She makes things for screens, walls, mailboxes, and human beings. If given the chance, she will corner you in a bar to ask you what you’re afraid of.
We’ve decided to break up this month's action list into three sections. There are certainly an infinite number ways to practice gratitude, but here are some of our favorites.
Something to do right now:
Send a short text message to three people that make your world a little more special and thank them for being a part of your life. Fun fact! This is how Jamie Foxx starts every morning (before his one hundred pull ups).
Something to do this month:
Write a letter of gratitude and mail it or, if possible, personally hand it off to your recipient. You can gift this print or a past one, write the note in your origami envelope and rest assured that all you need is one stamp to mail it.
Something to make part of your daily routine:
Gratitude journal. Every day, morning or night make a list of five things, big or small, for which you are grateful. Researchers Robert Emmons and his peers have found this to be one of the most impactful ways to lead a life fueled by gratitude. The reason it works? Whenever we take time to consider what we are grateful for, we make it easier for our brain to identify and focus on such experiences in the future. For your gratitude journaling, we’ve been inspired by Vedic Master Davidji’s ‘5 realms of Gratitude’ when creating our daily list.
- What am I grateful for within my physical realm?
- What am I grateful for within my emotional realm?
- What am I grateful for within my material realm?
- What am I grateful for in my relationships?
- What am I grateful for in terms of my spiritual realm whether it be for my faith or my trust in the universe?
Want to print this? Download the Action List (PDF).
A summary of the empirical finding [Wikipedia]
"Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. Numerous studies suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression.’
Want to be Happy? Be Grateful [TEDTalk]
“There is a wave of gratefulness because people are becoming aware how important this is and how this can change our world. It can change our world in immensely important ways, because if you're grateful, you're not fearful, and if you're not fearful, you're not violent. If you're grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. “
In Praise of Gratitude [Harvard Health Publications]
“Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group — assigned to work on a different day — received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.”
"The Structure of Gratitude" by David Brooks [New York Times]
“People with grateful dispositions see their efforts grandly but not themselves. Life doesn’t surpass their dreams but it nicely surpasses their expectations.”
Thanks! by Dr Robert Emmons [Book recommendation: check out your local library!]
Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology Dr. Robert Emmons draws on the first major scientific study of the subject to show how the systematic cultivation of gratitude can measurably change people's lives. People who regularly practice grateful thinking can increase their "set point" for happiness by as much as 25 percent.
And as promised, here are 3 studies that support many of the findings we’ve shared with you in this month’s Gratitude Guide.