Friday, November 28, 2014

A Happy Little Thing Called "Thank You"

A Happy Little Thing Called "Thank You"
Video by Joshua Coynes

As part of his thesis project, Josh Coynes created this eight minute video. With an interest in understanding the relationship between happiness and gratitude, he developed a thesis experiment to answer the question: "How does gratitude affect college students’ stress, self-love, and happiness?"

Josh enlisted the participation of 30 Boston College students to take part in his study. He had them each sit in front of a laptop computer and begin by completing a survey, designed to measure their level of stress, self love, and happiness. Then they were asked to write about someone they are grateful for; why they are grateful, the impact of that individual on their lives, and what that person means to them. After completing this thankful essay, they were asked to call that individual and read what they had just written, aloud.

The experiment culminated with each student completing the initial survey once again. And the findings were clear. In speaking of the results of his experiment, Josh said, "The numbers matched participants’ reactions; gratitude greatly reduced stress levels and boosted self-love and happiness."

If you haven't seen the video, do so. It's beautiful to watch the reactions of the students in sharing their gratitude.

For more information, visit:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gratitude Quote - Steindl-Rast

"We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart." ~ Brother David Steindl-Rast
In my experience with gratitude, it can take as little as a moment for grateful thinking to shift a mood or a difficulty, and to support the quest for a sense of inner calm. Thoughts of gratitude can alter your perspective and focus in no time at all. The thing that takes time is remembering you can turn to gratitude for a more peaceful perspective in any situation and instance. But, the more often you turn to gratitude as a tool for lightening your load, the quicker you will remember to employ it in the future.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gratitude Quote - Bonhoeffer

"In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Acknowledging the gifts in our lives is the first step, appreciating a life filled with blessings is the gift that keeps on giving. Life becomes extra-ordinary when we can wholeheartedly give thanks for what we have. And in doing so, our vision becomes clearer, with a greater ability to focus on all the good that surrounds us.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Visual Gratitude - October 2014

Visual Gratitude Journal for the Month of October 2014

I almost forgot about posting the latest Visual Gratitude Journal for last month. What a wonderful month it was! The days of October seemed to overflow with blessings and reasons to feel grateful.

Among the many "gratitudes" that filled the month of October, were the gifts of the creative process. Creative doors seemed to open and I am so thankful for the perpetual smile I've experienced over the past four or so weeks.

Much of this month's gratitude stems from having taken the opportunity to spend time painting every Monday and doing a quick pencil drawing each day. Here are some of the stand out "gratitudes" of my month:
  • the feeling of being in the creative flow, the spark of new ideas, focus and direction
  • determination, inspiration, and the feeling of accomplishment
  • and I am so very grateful for the joy of drawing and painting, for the paints and the drawing tools, for the time and opportunity to create, and the anticipation of my next drawing or painting session.

Wishing you a Thankful November!

The other monthly gratitude journal images can be found at: Visual Gratitude Journal.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Benefits of Gratitude: A Review

There are so many benefits to gratitude. 

In August, I highlighted some of the many benefits of having a personal gratitude practice. To review, here's a list of all 15 benefits with links to the individual posts (or visit Benefits of Gratitude to view all 15 on one page). 

  • Benefit #1 - Increases joy and happiness.
  • Benefit #2 - Helps shift the focus from life's problems to its gifts.
  • Benefit #3 - Helps reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Benefit #4 - Helps develop a more positive mental outlook.
  • Benefit #5 - Increases awareness of life's many blessings
  • Benefit #6 - Helps improve the quality of life.
  • Benefit #7 - Helps prioritize what's important in life.
  • Benefit #8 - Helps lower blood pressure.
  • Benefit #9 - Improves physical and mental health.
  • Benefit #10 - Strengthens connections with others and improves relationships.
  • Benefit #11 - Strengthens the immune system.
  • Benefit #12 - Improves sleep quality.
  • Benefit #13 - Strengthens coping skills.
  • Benefit #14 - Can help develop greater enthusiasm and optimism.
  • Benefit #15 - Makes it easier to forgive and let go of past hurts.

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    Gratitude Quote ~ Helen Keller

    "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." ~ Helen Keller

    True beauty is felt within the heart rather than seen through the vision of our eyes. Love, although it can be seen in the actions or on the face of a loved one, is not fully whole and is not fully realized until experienced within. Kindness begins with a heartfelt choice from the giver and is received by a heart full of appreciation.

    The richness of gratitude is not in the use of words but in the heartfelt response to something, someone, or some experience. Words can be the messenger but the heart provides the power and the source of light to the thankful.

    100 Gratitudes with Ease

    Making it easy – support for generating a list of 100 gratitudes.

    Every few months I make a list of 100 things I am grateful for. I love the exercise and feel so good afterwards. In fact, I find it hard to stop at 100. This activity makes me so very aware of all the things that have not made it onto the list.

    I realize that for many, it may seem difficult or somewhat overwhelming to generate a list of one hundred entries. So I decided to create a "cheat sheet" for anyone who might find this useful. I hope the following prompts can help the process to flow more easily...or at least stimulate some thoughts and ideas.

    • 5 people you love
    • 5 people you appreciate 
    • 5 qualities or personality traits you appreciate in others
    • 5 places you enjoy spending time
    • 10 things you love to do
    • 10 foods and flavors you enjoy
    • 5 things you appreciate about yourself 
    • 5 things you are physically able to do 
    • 10 things you use every day
    • 5 songs or pieces of music that have touched your life
    • 3 great books
    • 3 favorite movies
    • 5 things you feel proud of
    • 5 moments you would not want to forget. 
    • 5 sounds or words that are beautiful to your ear 
    • 5 people, places, and things you find beautiful
    • 5 people, places, and things that make you feel comfortable
    • 3 intangible aspects to your life
    • and Life itself. 

    With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, many people have gratitude in mind this month. Check out The Gratitude Habit Journal and Workbook and consider purchasing one for yourself and/or for someone you know.