Gratitude – September 20, 2010

So I’ve been reading the book NurtureShock for several months now (I’ve done an on again off again type of thing…). I liked the book for a number of reasons, and would recommend people read it if only to challenge some of the common conventions that we all live with. You may still choose to follow the common convention, but I think it’s worth it to have been forced to think about it a little more. At any rate, at the end of the book, the authors highlighted a study by Dr. Robert Emmons of UC Davis on the concept of Gratitude.

As highlighted in NurtureShock, Dr. Emmons “asked college students to keep a gratitude journal – over 10 weeks, the undergrads listed five things that had happened in the last week which they were thankful for. The results were surprisingly powerful – the students who kept the gratitude journal were 25% happier, were more optimistic about the future, and got sick less often during the controlled trial.” Of course, the book later goes on to highlight the work of Dr. Jeffrey Froh of Hofstra who tried to replicate this study in high school and middle school and was unsuccessful in doing so. Both Dr. Froh and the authors of NurtureShock have some theories as to why, but they aren’t really relevant to this post.

Regardless of the science, I’m intrigued by the concept of a gratitude journal, so I think I’ll try it out. Based on what I understand, there should be some kind of level of specificity here, so let’s see what I can come up with. I don’t like being constrained by requirements – I want this to be fun/useful, not a chore – so I’m going to adapt it a bit. I might do it once a week or once a month. I might have one thing I am particularly grateful for that I highlight, I might have seven. We’ll just take it as it comes.

Anyway, here’s this week:

1) Munchkin. I suspect this will be a recurring topic 🙂 But hopefully always a little different. Although last week was pretty rough – a 5-day stomach bug, overlapping with the simultaneous eruption of not one, not two, but three molars  – the hours-long screaming sessions that K went through (while exhausting and frustrating) made me realize how incredibly fortunate we are to have a child who is usually so sunny in her disposition. This week’s screaming fits were virtually unprecedented. And except when she was clearly in excruciating pain, she was quite happy to play and smile and giggle and be her usual happy self. Am I biased? Well of course I am, don’t be silly.

2) Health. Despite what may seem to be a whole host of health issues, neither I nor K currently have any major manifestations of what could be pretty significant conditions. Do you realize how lucky that makes us? I do. That’s not to say that something won’t pop up in the future, but I prefer to live in the here and now, not in the what ifs or the might have beens.

3) My job. Look. We all have good days and bad days, and I’m not going to pretend any different. But on balance, I, first, actually *have* a job. Second, I really like the people I work with. And third, we actually sell something that I think has significant use. That’s not too shabby.

I think we’ll keep it there for now. I have to save something for next time 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Gratitude – September 20, 2010

  1. Pingback: Gratitude – October 10, 2010 « Practical Whimsy

  2. Pingback: A little Job-ian « Practical Whimsy

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