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...
#gratitudegravy day 7
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...
Gratitude GRAVY day 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...
#gratitudeGRAVY day 5
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 4
If you're starting this Monday out with appreciation and gratitude, well done, read on for more inspo!
If you've yet to drag yourself out of bed (probably me!) and are having a case of the Mondays, then hopefully today's gratitude prompt will get your week started on a grateful foot.
Before you even attempt to unbury yourself from your inbox (what a way to start the week), let's try some gratitude, instead.
When we think of practicing gratitude, most of us immediately feel thankful for our families, our friends, our furball companions and our favorite hot beverage (seriously, the amount of gratitude I hear about coffee is pretty significant!).
And unless you are the most wired person on earth, you probably spend more time at work than you do drinking coffee.
But in almost 3 years of running this challenge, I don't hear very often that people feel grateful for their work. As much as we might fantasize about our next vacation, early...
#gratitudeGRAVY day 3
It's time to take your gratitude practice to the great outdoors. Your gratitude gravy mission for today is to go for a gratitude walk.
Gratitude GRAVY practice 3
During the walk, name at least 20 things you’re grateful for: comfy shoes, sunshine, rain, leaves, soil, your dog, your legs, fresh air, snow, blue sky, grey sky, the fact that the sky isn't falling, whatever greases your gratitude wheels.
If your world isn't buried in snow (mine is!), collect a rock, a leaf, a shell (you lucky beach dwelling duck!), pine cone or any other memento (or just take a photo, especially if it's sea life or something that shouldn't be removed).
We'll use these mementos to remind ourselves of something we were grateful for on the walk later in the challenge.
While you're on the walk, besides just naming a whole bunch of things you're grateful for, you could also reflect on (and be grateful for) the intelligence of nature. The connectedness of it all or how small...
Gratitude GRAVY day #2
I think we all probably are a little guilty of living a drive-by life. We have drive-by conversations with our loved ones, we speed through our day, plow through our inboxes, rush through our to-do list and then we count down until the weekend.
We tend to breeze right past a whole lot of what we could be grateful for in the present.
That's one of the beautiful benefits of gratitude. Gratitude makes us stop, recognize, acknowledge and appreciate whatever good is happening right in front of us.
As one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, so beautifully puts it, to appreciate life, you just have to be open for business.
Gorgeous, amazing things come into our lives when we are paying attention: mangoes, grandnieces, Bach, ponds … Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given.
We just have to be open for business.
-Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow
Our lives might be...
#GratitudeGRAVY day 1
Consider the expression, "thank you". We've said it a million times. It's a habitual response. We say thank you for everything. Thanks, thank you, TY, Thx, sometimes we throw out a folded hands emoji and call it a day .
We speak it, we text it, we demand our kids say it, but do we mean it?
It's a knee-jerk generalized response. Conditioned by societal norms and Miss Manners. But as it's tossed around for everything, we become desensitized to the true power of experiencing and expressing gratitude.
Let's be real, should the same word be used to convey the same level of sincerity when someone politely holds the door open for us at a coffee shop as when someone holds our hand in the hospital?
Ummm probably not.
But in lieu of rewriting the English language and inventing a new vocabulary, let's decide that when someone does us a solid, we'll add some specificity instead.
Specificity staves off gratitude fatigue!
One reason why gratitude practices don't last beyond the...
I took this photo of these red lanterns in the Houston airport at the end of April. We were coming home from Peru and had a 3-hour layover after having already traveled straight for 22 hours. I was exhausted, spent, wired not tired.
There's beauty everywhere. Sometimes we have to look in unexpected places to find it, like the ceiling of the Houston airport. But if you're paying attention, you'll see it and appreciate it.
But most of us are head down in our phones all.the.time. We've forgotten what it's like to notice something other than a text message or a burgeoning inbox.
Where did we all go?
As you're scrolling through your phone right now (hey, I'm probably doing it, too), take a second to turn your gaze upwards. Look at the sky, the ceiling, the person next to you.
Positive psychology has shown that just the mere act of looking up raises our moods.
In a series of experiments...
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