Who ever thought that we could get the practice of the over used BUZZ word gratitude wrong.
Well according to Marie Forleo of Marie TV and Robert Emmons book “Gratitude Works” we have all been doing it wrong.
I haven’t read Emmons book but Marie was talking about its insights over on Marie TV and I must say, the information and the research findings discussed has got me thinking.
According to Marie –
“When it comes to gratitude, the dividends are in the details”
Meaning that most of us just think about what we are grateful for and don’t get specific enough.
Also, just thinking about what we are grateful for doesn’t work – we must write down how thankful we are for the maximum value of our thoughtful efforts.
It’s got something really cool to do with how our grey matter works but I’m not even going to try and explain that… I want you to stick with me a little longer, not click away.
So, without boring you too much with the details, the studies show that when we pick one person or thing to be grateful for every day and write five specific sentences about it we become more elated, excited and improve our emotional health.
The study group that generalised gratitude remained more tired, lethargic and sad.
Examples of generalised gratefulness:-
I’m grateful for the love of my husband Doug
I’m grateful I still have my Mum with me
I’m grateful to live in a community I adore
I’m grateful my kids are happy and healthy
I’m grateful for my returning health
It’s easy to rattle of five things that you are grateful for. But it’s not very specific or insightful is it? You could write this down in a minute without much thought at all!
Then you could give yourself a big pat on the back for being so darn grateful, smile smugly as you close the cover on your gratitude journal, turn off the light, snuggle up and dream of endless vibrant rainbows and dancing unicorns.
Sure, that happens… right?
There lies the problem. That’s why we are not feeling the shifts in our emotional health. We are not really investing in our gratitude by getting specific and as a result we are experiencing something Marie calls Gratitude Fatigue.
We need to read between the lines of our own words and reveal what is lying within them… what gives them strength… what makes them important… why we value those statements.
For without assigning them meaning and value they are but fleeting surface thoughts with little significance or real impact on our psyche.
Example of specific gratefulness:-
I’m grateful for the love of my husband Doug because –
1. He is so calm and patient with me
2. His resilience is infectious
3. He can find humour in any situation
4. He is a great listener
5. When he holds my hand I feel so loved and cherished every.single.time.
See the difference? I actually smiled and cried while I was writing those sentences. So much more emotionally and mentally invested in the gratitude.
Now I’m not sure that I can be that disciplined to do this every day. Although for the greatest value of the exercise the studies show it should be an every day practice.
So I’ve decided to, at the very least, give this a whirl every Sunday here on the blog… with a twist!
You see I’m a great believer in the idea that we can gain just as much emotional strength for our soul by gaining acknowledgement and validation of our hidden truths… the things that SUCK big time… The negative things we may be yearning to air but don’t because we fear judgement of not being positive enough. You know… what we’d really like to say when someone asks us how we are but we say “Good thanks” instead.
Now I’m not about to get all ranty but there is too much stigma around talking about not being okay. Sure we pick and choose who we open up to and so we should. We don’t want to be told “Suck it up princess” when what we really need is just someone to listen and say “Yeah, that’s gotta suck. I’m hearing you”.
In my book finding that someone you can just bla to without judgement is just as powerful as someone helping you find the silver lining of things.
So each Sunday I am going to share one “Suckable” statement and one “Grateful” statement and then write five sentences about each one.
Life is all about duality and I believe you must honour that dualism for some kind of soulful balance and nourishment.
You can join in via the comments if you like?
I’m going to call it
“Sunday Suckables and Silver Linings”
But wait… there is more!
I am so over the word grateful and the word positive that every time I hear them I want to stick my finger down my throat and throw up… loudly. So I will be using the statement “I am appreciative for” instead of “I am grateful for”.
Works for me!
I think I’ve rattled on enough for one day. So I will bid you farewell.
I look forward to sharing with you next Sunday.
Please feel free to share a suckable or silver lined statement below in the comments and write a few sentences about them. No judgements here people.
How would you spell Suckable/Suckible?
Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me says
Gosh this makes so much sense. Sure it’s easy to write what I’m grateful for but to really dissect it is a great idea. I too HATE the buzzword gratitude, it makes me feel like I’m being an ass when I complain!!
My long suffering husband – I am appreciative for..
The way he doesn’t hold a grudge when I’m a cranky cow.
He never notices if I put on weight unless I point it out.
When I ask him to do a chore he never says no even though I know he hates doing them.
The way he works so hard to provide for me and our 3 kids.
Pashing me, sometimes, like he used to back when we first met (too much info??)
Love your work – xxx
That’s how I felt about the concept Emily… it just made so much sense! I think I’ll have to get my hands on the book.
Your appreciation for your husband is so lovely! The last sentence is just too cute :-). Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment Xx
Majella Laws says
Aah – you can’t have gratitude without appreciation can you! I remember writing about that eons ago. We so get caught up in glib stuff, like parrots and it has no meaning. Good on you Sandra for reminding us!
I’d like to see that bit of writing Majella? May it appear on The Velvet Soapbox some time soon I hope? Yes, I much prefer to appreciate. Thanks for stopping by my friend Xx
Shauna Round the Corner says
Wow. I really get what you are saying and I am so looking forward to Sunday.
I downloaded a gratitude app (or thankful app, cant remember now) on 1 January this year. It was to do with a New Year’s resolution of mine. It had inspiring quotes each day that I found really motivating and I diligently made daily entries for about 4 months before I lost interest. It turned out the quotes were on a quarterly cycle and when they started repeating after the first 3 months I got bored lol. Maybe the quotes helped me to be more meaningful or something, in the same way that you are advocating by drilling down into why we are grateful rather than just rattling it off. Sorry, can’t delve into a silver lined or suckable statement right now because I am exhausted having just typed out this one! But I’ll be there on Sunday rearing to go! 🙂
Hey there Shauna!
You did really well sticking with it for about four months! Great conviction. Look forward to seeing you Sunday. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
What a great idea… I’lll be here with bells on. I think stuff like this is good for your soul. I love how you make me think about life. x
I’m appreciative for my family…
How I know they are always there.
Laughing about nothing and everything.
They would always honour an agreement.
Remembering and making new memories.
The time you put $5 each in a poker machine and the person says we will spilt it if we win (and you don’t have the $5 in change) so they put in 10…
The time you win and the other person totally forgets and keeps the whole lot!
Not having enough balls to say, where’s my $40.
Wondering how some people can say one thing and 5 mins later totally forget they said it.
Knowing the people who have everything are the scrooges.
Too much time wasted over wondering if they ever thought about it again.
End of rant… thanks for letting me air that one.
Ahh the unconditional love of family Sarah! And that ‘suckable’ really needed airing! So suckable. See you Sunday 🙂 Xx
Raychael aka Mystery Case says
I’m a huge fan of Marie Forleo but hadn’t seen this episode, it just makes sense. Thanks for sharing.
Marie is just so likeable, isn’t she? And she just keeps coming up with such meaningful content! Thanks for stopping by Raychael. 🙂 Xx
Bele @ BlahBlah says
This is fascinating. It makes sense, being specific is more effective for most things from raising children, to goal setting to making toasted cheese sandwich, I mean everyone seems to do it differently!!
It is a fascinating concept isn’t it? I’m keen to get on it. Everyone can say they appreciate waking up in the morning but everyones reasons and specific beliefs will be different – despite being woven together by similarity. Thanks for stopping bye Bele! 🙂 Xx
Sonia Life Love Hiccups says
I love this way of thinking and confess that Yes I have been doing it all wrong.
OK I am grateful for my beautiful children because;
1 They behave more than they misbehave… usually
2 They save their best manners for people outside of their family… which is a silver lining AND a suckable really.
3 They may be messy but they REALLY appreciate it when i clean up their rooms for them
4. They drive me crazy with their million and 1 questions but I love that they are so inquisitive and feel comfortable to ask me those questions.
5. I love that they love me unconditionally despite the fact that some days I get it SO wrong with this parenting gig.
Yep I am in for the ride hun and look forward to following your lead on this xx
Hi Sonia! Number 2 is definitely a suckable and a silver lining for sure! And Sonia, there is no way you are getting the parenting gig wrong my friend… you care so much about giving your best and that’s more than enough, really, that is so enough. 🙂 Xx
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says
This is awesome, Sandra!
I’m appreciative for so many things, I wonder what to choose first.
Here we go! I appreciate living in Australia.
1.. It’s warm.
2.. It’s safe.
3. It’s free.
4. It’s beautiful.
5. And the people are awesome and the coffee is great!
The fact that I’m so far away from my friends on the other side of the planet is a tad suckable, but that’s the price I pay for living in paradise!
Looking forward to next Sunday! xx
Awesome people and great coffee – what more could a girl want hey! 🙂
Thanks for joining in Sammie! Xx
Kelly Exeter says
Love this Sandra – I think you’ve nailed why I struggle so much with gratitude – I always end up doing the very generalised thing and it sounds so lame to me (like ‘duh, of course I’m grateful for xx’)
Today I am grateful for my fitness:
1. It allows me to keep up with my kids
2. It allows me to be patient with people (endorphins + less tiredness is good for that)
3. I love feeling healthy
4. I love that my runs give me time to solve the problems of the world
5. I don’t have a number 5 🙂
Thank you Kelly! I really like how this makes me feel so much more invested and connected to my gratefulness. I’m glad it struck a chord with you too.
Oh, I need me s’more endorphins 😉 Thanks for joining in Xx