Snippets of real life, love and loss, not just snapshots for your own personal social media highlight reel.
Before everyone and their breakfast wallpapered the internet, before we all carried around a camera in the palm of our hand, photographer Byron Wolfe, challenged himself to this daily photographic practice to see his daily life through a different lens.
He had to take one interesting and compelling photo a day between his 35th and 36th birthdays.
This was 21 years ago.
Between grading papers at work, changing diapers at home and "date nights" with his wife at the grocery store, he didn't have time to take one “compelling”picture a month let alone one every.single.day.
No, he didn't pack a bag and summit Everest in order to catalog the world's best scenery for the glossiest version of his photographic diary.
Instead, the vistas...
Did you know January is known as the looooongggest month of the year?
Ok arguably, at 31 days, it's actually not longer than December or August, but without all of the holiday hoopla or sunny summer days, it feels long!
And the joyless January feeling actually is so common, that, yesterday, was not only the revered MLK Day, but, to psychologists, it's also known as BLUE Monday.
Between the holiday credit card bill, a lot less sunshine, a fall off of resolutions (hello ice cream!) and all the twinkly lights tucked away ... January can feel longer than any other month.
But I've got the antidote.
It'll calm your mind, invigorate your spirit and help you feel more JOY.
It's part positive psychology pep talk, part creativity, part journal, and it's exactly what mid-winter January blahs call for.
Life Feast Guest Expert Workshop on 1/19/23
3 Tools to Find Your JOY and Thrive in January (and all year long) with Jennifer King Lindley
Sign up => here.
I lived in Provence, France during my junior year in college with a French family in a tiny apartment. 3 adults, 2 kids, one bathroom and no clothes dryer.
The mother of the family would kindly wash my clothes and hang them outside to dry on the clothesline.
This might conjure up romantic images of lavender-scented crisp linens in the French countryside, but the reality was that my undies were hanging over a parking lot, my blue jeans came off the line stiff as cardboard and the towels were as soft as sandpaper.
This certainly wasn't the great tragedy of my youth, but I will say that when I returned home, I had a new appreciation for clothes dried in a dryer. I had clearly taken the luxury of having a clothes dryer for granted my entire life.
As the chief laundress of my own household, on days that I'm less than thrilled to delve into a week's worth of wash, I can easily switch from being resentful to grateful.
I think about how grateful...
Gratitude is a social emotion. Gratitude wants to go out dancing, not be locked away in the dungeon. This is why writing in your daily gratitude in a journal is really only half of the gratitude equation.
Because the best gratitude practice is both reflective and expressive.
In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology showed that people who reaped the biggest benefits from gratitude do both.
This means you not only write privately in your gratitude journal, but you also GIVE THAT THANKS AWAY as we do in the #gratitudegravy challenge.
According to psychologist Sara Algoe’s, find, remind and bind theory, gratitude is so social, it helps us find new relationships, reminds us of our existing relationships and helps us to nurture and pay attention to these relationships that bind us together in community.
This suggests that gratitude has a distinct evolutionary purpose as this is all excellent for the continuation of our species.
Gratitude GRAVY 6
Today's gratitude challenge is so easy, you can do it in your sleep. In fact, that's exactly where I want you to do it!
Sleep is a critical process that restores our bodies and our brains. It doesn't matter how much gratitude we have for that daily jolt of caffeine, we cannot survive without sleep. I personally am a bit of a train wreck when I don't get enough sleep!
My mother's favorite coffee mug. Yes, my dad has a matching one! I'm grateful for my irreverent parents and their sense of humor!
In another gratitude study from Dr. Emmons Ph.D., in conjunction with the University of California - Davis Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the University of Miami, a group of participants were given the task of practicing gratitude before bed. Control groups were asked to either write about neutral events, hassles or social comparison before bed.
Not surprisingly, the majority of participants who were in the gratitude group...
This Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, I want you to gamify your gratitude. Yes, you're going to be a gratitude gamer!
Another way that we can keep our gratitude practice fun and frequent (and to get our loved ones involved) is to gamify it.
Not only does being a gratitude gamer help our own practice stay interesting, but it also is a great way to involve others and reap the benefits of what psychologists call, the upward spiral of positivity.
The upward spiral is contagious, meaning the energy from others' gratitude can greatly increase our own and vice versa.
This next gratitude activity is an easy way to spark your specificity, get you moving and keep you laughing …
Plus, it’s a great gratitude icebreaker, and we all need to move around before or after the tryptophan hits the bloodstream...
Gratitude Gravy Practice #9
Gratitude Ping Pong
This game was invented by my mentor in positive psychology, Emiliya Zhivotovskaya.
It's very simple. You...
GratiTIRED? I get it. This is why gratitude fatigue is real…. And, while the healthcare industry is starting to realize that gratitude is some of the best medicine, the correct dosage for each of us does vary.
But stay with me. We are in the home stretch of #gratitudegravy and this next practice is one of the best gratitude practices for boosting happiness.
Think of someone who is still alive who has changed your life for the better. Pick someone who has never been properly thanked. It could be a teacher, a parent, grandparent, an old friend, an old boss, anyone who had an extraordinary impact on your life.
Ok do you have someone in mind?
Call the person or arrange a visit and...
#GratitudeGRAVY day 12
There are plenty of days, in this beautiful messy business of being human, where we might be feeling LESS than grateful for whatever is happening in our present or for what has happened in our past.
Gratitude is not a practice of "superficial happiology" - Robert Emmons, Ph.D
An effective gratitude practice does not require us all to become some kind of Stepford version of Miss Mary Sunshine. We are allowed to have bad days and not ride off into the sunset on our unicorn.
Heck, I had an entire decade of massive personal challenges in my business, in my marriage, in my everything, and there were plenty of days where I couldn’t muster up much gratitude.
A true gratitude practice is not one where we plaster a smile on our faces during the dark night of our soul.
It's gratiTUESDAY or gratiTWOSDAY (all puns intended!).
This next practice will take just 2-minutes and is a happiness game-changer. It comes from Harvard-trained happiness researcher, Shawn Achor.
Gratitude Practice #5
Today's practice is to start your Tuesday (yes, first thing) with writing a 2-minute thank you email or text to someone in your world.
No frills. Nothing fancy. The only requirement is that you express gratitude, appreciation or praise to the other person for something specific.
It doesn't have to be about anything too significant to make a big difference in their day (and yours).
According to Shawn, the best results come from doing this practice at least 3 times a week, but for #gratitudegravy, start with Tuesdays, then decide if you want to up your frequency to daily or 3-times a week.
After you read about its health benefits (below), you might be extra motivated with this one.
Not only does it have a...
#GratitudeGRAVY day 11
Several years ago, I was at a yoga retreat and one of my favorite teachers Patty Zimmer, said grace before we ate a meal together.
I'm not a very religious person, so saying grace isn't always in my repertoire.
Patty thanked everyone who made the meal happen, thanked the food delivery truck drivers, the cashiers at the store, the farmers who grew the food. She thanked as many as she could think of whose hands made the meal possible, not just the almighty ones or the ones in the kitchen.
I loved this practice and adopted it as my own. It’s a beautiful way of being grateful and full of grace.
Then, I stumbled upon a crazy gratitude story that took this one (or 1000) steps further.
A NYC-based writer named A.J. Jacobs was doing a similar practice with his kids. He said he’d been in a bad mood for a while and thought the practice would cheer him up, while also teaching the kids about the power of gratitude. So, as a family,...
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