Practical Gratitude

What We Currently Offer:

→  Social Media Management with Gratitude. You know your company, industry, and clients and you are busy handling the myriad of ongoing tasks and details associated with your business.  We know social media, marketing, sales, and customer service.

Our Social Media Management approach is simple but effective as we work with you to create strategy and messaging that fits you and builds your brand. We then help you identify people, companies, and organizations that will benefit your company.

The Gratitude Approach to Social Media means that we take special care to personalize messages and consistently show appreciation to followers, prospects, and customers. As one example, many social media users don’t know or they forget how powerful and memorable it is to thank someone for connecting. We prefer using “connecting” to “following” because it’s the first step in good relationship-building, which is a crucial beginning to any networking or sales process.

Each platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and more) has its own language, rules, and best practices.  Lisa and her team of Social Media Managers have taken online social media management training from some of the leaders in Digital and Social Marketing including Perry Marshall, Ryan Deiss, and Kate Buck. Lisa’s ongoing study includes attending Social Media Management Week (presented by Social Media Examiner) and keeping up with the ever-changing social media rules and digital marketing landscape.

We specialize in Twitter and Indiegogo, as well as other crowdfunding campaigns, but also manage Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Some of our Social Media Management clients include:

→  The Connected Universe, Directed by Malcom Carter, is an upcoming documentary film that explores new understandings in scientific theory that reveal a bigger picture of interconnection than we have ever imagined.Connected Universe Supporter

Lisa led the Twitter Social Media Management effort beginning with the initial Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and ongoing; writing and editing content and building followers and engagement for “The Connected Universe” Twitter community. The team’s successful work helped the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign make history by earning over $285,000, the largest documentary film campaign ever on Indiegogo. Due to the unprecedented amount raised, Indiegogo awarded “The Connected Universe” In Demand status (“forever funding”) so people can continue to donate. (Thanks so much to social media management team member Wendy Sue Noah – www.wendysuenoah.com – for the invaluable help on this project.)

 
Inquire-Within-Book
 

→  Inquire Within – A Guide to Living in SpiritSince 2010, Lisa and her team have managed Facebook and Twitter for this non-denominational spiritual book and website. Lisa also participated in the graphic design, content editing, and printing project management for the paper book. She manages the design and much of the content creation and editing for the website ongoing.

Our Commitment is to provide solutions with:

  • Creative, engaging and accessible content.
  • Powerful interdisciplinary synthesis of relaxation tools, business communication, and appreciation practices.
  • Benefits to personal as well as corporate growth and success.
  • Proven methodology to promote sustainable organizational change.

Thank you for your interest!

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Gratitude_Thank You_Appreciation Helps

What Is Gratitude?

Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in a Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.” (essay below)

“First,” he writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”

In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Emmons and other researchers see the social dimension as being especially important to gratitude. “I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion,“ writes Emmons, “because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”

Because gratitude encourages us not only to appreciate gifts but to repay them (or pay them forward), the sociologist Georg Simmel called it “the moral memory of mankind.”

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PRACTICAL SUMMARY of…
Why Gratitude is Good
By Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D.

(Full article below. We give you the highlights because your time is valuable.)

Gratitude, yes, simply being thankful for the good things we have in our lives, provides benefits to our physical and emotional health. We might ask, ”What good is gratitude?” and noted gratitude researcher Robert A. Emmons, gives us four reasons:
1. Gratitude gives us a little hit of “instant gratification” – reminding us about the good here and now in our lives.
2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions – who needs that junk in their lives anyway?
3. Grateful people let the stress roll off their backs – which costs less than a massage.
4. Grateful people see their own value. Not because they are full of themselves but because they recognize the value of each and every one of us.

Why Gratitude Is Good

By Robert Emmons

For more than a decade, I’ve been studying the effects of gratitude on physical health, on psychological well-being, and on our relationships with others.

In a series of studies, my colleagues and I have helped people systematically cultivate gratitude, usually by keeping a “gratitude journal” in which they regularly record the things for which they’re grateful.

Gratitude journals and other gratitude practices often seem so simple and basic; in our studies, we often have people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks. And yet the results have been overwhelming. We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.

Indeed, this cuts to very heart of my definition of gratitude, which has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.

The second part of gratitude is figuring out where that goodness comes from. We recognize the sources of this goodness as being outside of ourselves. It didn’t stem from anything we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride. We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others: We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.
What good is gratitude?

So what’s really behind our research results—why might gratitude have these transformative effects on people’s lives?

I think there are several important reasons, but I want to highlight four in particular.

1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present. It magnifies positive emotions.

Research on emotion shows that positive emotions wear off quickly. Our emotional systems like newness. They like novelty. They like change. We adapt to positive life circumstances so that before too long, the new car, the new spouse, the new house—they don’t feel so new and exciting anymore.

But gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.

In effect, I think gratitude allows us to participate more in life. We notice the positives more, and that magnifies the pleasures you get from life. Instead of adapting to goodness, we celebrate goodness. We spend so much time watching things—movies, computer screens, sports—but with gratitude we become greater participants in our lives as opposed to spectators.

2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness. There’s even recent evidence, including a 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality, showing that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.

This makes sense: You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings. If you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for having something that you don’t. Those are very different ways of relating to the world, and sure enough, research I’ve done with colleagues Michael McCullough and Jo-Ann Tsang has suggested that people who have high levels of gratitude have low levels of resentment and envy.
3. Grateful people are more stress resistant. There’s a number of studies showing that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering, if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly. I believe gratitude gives people a perspective from which they can interpret negative life events and help them guard against post-traumatic stress and lasting anxiety.

4. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth. I think that’s because when you’re grateful, you have the sense that someone else is looking out for you—someone else has provided for your well-being, or you notice a network of relationships, past and present, of people who are responsible for helping you get to where you are right now.

Once you start to recognize the contributions that other people have made to your life—once you realize that other people have seen the value in you—you can transform the way you see yourself.

Challenges to gratitude

Just because gratitude is good doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Practicing gratitude can be at odds with some deeply ingrained psychological tendencies.

One is the “self-serving bias.” That means that when good things happen to us, we says it’s because of something we did, but when bad things happen, we blame other people or circumstances.

Gratitude really goes against the self-serving bias because when we’re grateful, we give credit to other people for our success. We accomplished some of it ourselves, yes, but we widen our range of attribution to also say, “Well, my parents gave me this opportunity.” Or, “I had teachers. I had mentors. I had siblings, peers—other people assisted me along the way.” That’s very different from a self-serving bias.

Gratitude also goes against our need to feel in control of our environment. Sometimes with gratitude you just have to accept life as it is and be grateful for what you have.

Finally, gratitude contradicts the “just-world” hypothesis, which says that we get what we deserve in life. Good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people. But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it? Bad things happen to good people and vice versa.

With gratitude comes the realization that we get more than we deserve. I’ll never forget the comment by a man at a talk I gave on gratitude. “It’s a good thing we don’t get what we deserve,” he said. “I’m grateful because I get far more than I deserve.”

This goes against a message we get a lot in our contemporary culture: that we deserve the good fortune that comes our way, that we’re entitled to it. If you deserve everything, if you’re entitled to everything, it makes it a lot harder to be grateful for anything.

Cultivating gratitude

Partly because these challenges to gratitude can be so difficult to overcome, I get asked a lot about how we can go beyond just occasionally feeling more grateful to actually becoming a more grateful person.

I detail many steps for cultivating gratitude in my book Thanks!, and summarize many of them in this  article. I should add, though, that despite the fact that I’ve been studying gratitude for 11 years and know all about it, I still find that I have to put a lot of conscious effort into practicing gratitude. In fact, my wife says, “How is it that you’re supposed to be this huge expert on gratitude? You’re the least grateful person I know!” Well, she has a point because it’s easy to lapse into the negativity mindset. But these are some of the specific steps I like to recommend for overcoming the challenges to gratitude.

First is to keep a gratitude journal, as I’ve had people do in my experiments. This can mean listing just five things for which you’re grateful every week. This practice works, I think, because it consciously, intentionally focuses our attention on developing more grateful thinking and on eliminating ungrateful thoughts. It helps guard against taking things for granted; instead, we see gifts in life as new and exciting. I do believe that people who live a life of pervasive thankfulness really do experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of life by not feeling grateful.

Similarly, another gratitude exercise is to practice counting your blessings on a regular basis, maybe first thing in the morning, maybe in the evening. What are you grateful for today? You don’t have to write them down on paper.

You can also use concrete reminders to practice gratitude, which can be particularly effective in working with children, who aren’t abstract thinkers like adults are. For instance, I read about a woman in Vancouver whose family developed this practice of putting money in “gratitude jars.” At the end of the day, they emptied their pockets and put spare change in those jars. They had a regular reminder, a routine, to get them to focus on gratitude. Then, when the jar became full, they gave the money in it to a needy person or a good cause within their community.

Practices like this can not only teach children the importance of gratitude but can show that gratitude impels people to “pay it forward”—to give to others in some measure like they themselves have received.

Finally, I think it’s important to think outside of the box when it comes to gratitude. Mother Theresa talked about how grateful she was to the people she was helping, the sick and dying in the slums of Calcutta, because they enabled her to grow and deepen her spirituality. That’s a very different way of thinking about gratitude—gratitude for what we can give as opposed to what we receive. But that can be a very powerful way, I think, of cultivating a sense of gratitude.

***Thanks to the Greater Good Science Center for generously sharing these articles with PracticalGratitude.com.
These articles, “What is Gratitude” and “Why Gratitude is Good” by Robert Emmons, Ph.D., originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. To view the original articles, see “What is Gratitude”: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition#what_is and “Why Gratitude is Good”: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good